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AT&T in talks over $50bn DirecTV deal

US telecommunications company AT&T is in “active talks” to acquire satellite television provider DirecTV in a deal that could be worth close to $50bn (€36bn), according to Reuters.

The news agency said an agreement could be reached in the next few weeks, with AT&T said to be discussing an offer in the low to mid-$90s per share for DirecTV, whose share price closed at $87.16 on Monday.

News of AT&T’s interest first emerged on May 1 and a bid in the region of $95 per share would value DirecTV at more than $48bn based on its shares outstanding.

AT&T currently offers a pay-television service through its U-Verse brand, but its market reach is limited and DirecTV would broaden its footprint on a national basis in the US.

DirecTV is currently engaged in talks with the NFL to renew its exclusive rights to the American football league’s Sunday Ticket package of programming – a key product for the company.

The out-of-market subscription package was first launched by DirecTV in 1994, allowing subscribers to access Sunday afternoon games broadcast by US networks CBS and Fox. DirecTV’s exclusive deal for Sunday Ticket programming will expire at the end of the 2014-15 NFL season.

The Sunday Ticket package costs subscribers up to $300 a year and is an important part in DirecTV’s customer acquisition strategy. Around two million people currently receive the service.