DirecTV shareholders approve AT&T merger

DirecTV shareholders have overwhelmingly voted for the proposed take-over by AT&T. 99% of votes cast were in favour of the deal, which, if approved by regulators, will mean 77% of all shares going to AT&T.

The proposed merger, first set in motion in May, has been met with some strong opposition from smaller US industry players. Over 90 members of the Minority Cellular Partner Coalition (MCPC) compiled a petition urging the US regulatory body FCC to stop the transaction, while Microsoft wrote a letter asking for the deal to be approved.

The main reason for the objection cited by the MCPC has been that in their view the merger is not in the public interest as it would lessen competition rather than increase it.

Netflix was the latest to write to the FCC about the merger. In its notice to the commission the OTT service provider said AT&T will see it as competition in the video streaming market, and asked that powerful conditions restricting paid peering should be put in place.

The $49 billion AT&T and DirecTV deal is expected to close within the first half of 2015. It will be AT&T’s biggest takeover since it acquired BellSouth in 2006 for $85 billion.

In the meanwhile, AT&T and DirecTV have reportedly set their eyes on troubled Comcast SportsNet Houston, the broadcasting service showing NBA team Houston Rockets and baseball team Houston Astros games.

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