The NFL could dismantle AT&T’s $48.5 billion purchase of DirecTV.
According to a clause in a regulatory filing for the purchase, AT&T has the right to walk away from the deal if DirecTV can’t renew its agreement with the NFL for its Sunday Ticket package. (Hat tip to Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman for spotting it.)
Here’s what the clause says:
The parties also have agreed that in the event that DIRECTV’s agreement for the “NFL Sunday Ticket” service is not renewed substantially on the terms discussed between the parties, the Company may elect not to consummate the merger.
NFL Sunday Ticket lets you watch every NFL game live. It also lets you stream games over the internet to your tablet, phone, or laptop. The service costs $US330 for an entire season.
On a call with analysts this morning, DirecTV’s CEO Michael White said negotiations with the NFL are going well and should clear by the end of the year, well before the merger with AT&T is expected to go through.
“I’m still highly confident we’re going to get out deal done,” White said. “Discussions are very positive with the NFL.”
As Re/code’s Peter Kafka noted on Twitter, the NFL deal simply gives AT&T a potential out. If DirecTV can’t get the NFL to agree to continue Sunday Ticket, there’s still a good chance AT&T will want to continue the acquisition.
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