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AT&T Deal to Buy DirecTV Reportedly Heating Up, Has Moved to 'Advanced' Stage. Pricetag Still Under Discussion -- 'About $50 Billion' Is Where Talks Are Now Bloomberg

"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 people familiar with the matter," report Alex Sherman and Jeffrey McCracken for Bloomberg.

The story adds: "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 people, asking not to be named because the information is private. DirecTV Chief Executive Officer Mike White plans to retire after 2015, the people said.

"The purchase would give AT&T a national satellite-TV provider to combine with its wireless, phone and high-speed broadband Internet services as competition ramps up. The pool of pay-TV customers is peaking in the U.S. because viewers are increasingly watching video online, and the combination would keep DirecTV from being on its own with just a TV offering and no competitive Internet package."

As we previously reported on May 1, 2014, quoting The Wall Street Journal: "DirecTV is the second-biggest pay TV operator, serving about 20 million customers, while AT&T's landline-based TV business serves about 5.7 million. The nearly 26 million subscribers served by the combined company would compare with Comcast, which -- with TWC -- would serve close to 30 million subscribers."

The acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast, as previously reported, would cost Comcast about $45 billion in a proposed all-stock deal.

Today, May 13, 2014, the Bloomberg story notes: "The deal is more than a week away from being completed, said another person familiar with the matter, who added the sides were still in talks on a price, which could come in close to $95 a share, depending on how much cash or stock is in the transaction. The person said White’s departure was also still being negotiated. The price could go as high as $100 a share, two other people said."

Bloomberg said that neither DIrecTV nor AT&T would comment on its story.