File - A DirecTV dish is seen outside a home in the Queens borough of New York in this July 29, 2013. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
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AT&T Inc., joining the ranks of U.S. TV, Internet and wireless providers racing to consolidate, is in advanced talks to acquire DirecTV for about $50 billion, according to sources familiar with the deal.Under the plan being discussed, management of DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, will continue to run the company as a unit of AT&T, said the sources, asking not to be identified because the information is private. A merger of DirecTV and Dish Network Corp. was blocked more than a decade ago, and AT&T had to abandon a purchase of T-Mobile US Inc. several years ago amid antitrust opposition.DirecTV and AT&T are planning a 12-month regulatory process to review the deal, according to one of the sources. Getting ownership of DirecTV's Latin American units would cause a conflict for AT&T, which holds an 8 percent stake in America Movil SAB – a direct competitor to DirecTV in countries including Brazil and Colombia.The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that AT&T was planning a stock and cash bid for DirecTV, but did not specify the price.AT&T can afford to add about $16 billion in debt to fund the DirecTV deal without risking a credit-rating downgrade, according to Erich Marriott, an analyst with Bloomberg Industries.
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