For years there have been talks of a possible DIRECTV and DISH merger. Now the time may be finally right and 2023 may be the year the two satellite TV services merge. The growth of cord cutting and AT&T spinning DIRECTV off into its own company creates conditions that could make the merger a reality.
For years every attempt to merge the two TV services died over fears of it creating a monopoly. Now with cord cutting there is real competition for your TV service, removing objections over competition fears as services like YouTube TV, Hulu, Philo, and fuboTV to name a few offer real options.
Now that the fears over a possible monopoly are over, DISH is openly talking about a merger. During the 3rd quarter of 2022 earnings, Dish’s Chairman Charlie Ergen when asked about the possible merger said now “that election cycle is over next week. And then you have a window, where I think all companies are looking at M&A.” Ergen went on to say “If the timing was right, it would be in the near term, not the longer term.”
Clearly, there are a lot of issues to work out and reports say DISH has been the main hold-up as they reportedly are asking for control over the new company.
There is precedent for a merger like this one. When Sirius Radio and XM Radio couldn’t make satellite radio work, they successfully received clearance to merge the two companies. The argument was the growth of downloading music and streaming radio created competition that wasn’t there when they first launched.
The growth of internet options like SpaceX’s Starlink service means Americans who in the past didn’t have the internet to stream TV, now have options to do just that. Because of that the need to have DISH and DIRECTV as competitors is no longer what it once was.
Last year AT&T spun off DIRECTV into its own company so that AT&T would no longer run, but still controlled a 70% ownership. DIRECTV is now owned in a partnership with the investment group TPG, who wants a merger to help get a return on its investment.
DISH has been heavily moving to diversify itself by diving into wireless phone services and 5G internet thanks to the purchase of Boost Mobile along with purchases of wireless spectrum.
So the question seems to be can the two companies come to an agreement on the terms before both companies decided a merger is just not worth it?