Nation roundup for May 20


AT&T aims for TV’s future with DirecTV buy

LOS ANGELES (AP) — AT&T says it views its planned $48.5 billion purchase of DirecTV as a way to help redefine the video entertainment industry, giving it opportunities to bundle services and tap into growing Latin American markets.

AT&T Inc.’s proposed transaction primes it for the age of Internet-delivered video.

AT&T and DirecTV promised consumer benefits like more economical bundles that tie mobile phone, pay TV and Internet service together on a single bill.

AT&T said that it’ll probably be 12 to 18 months for robust streaming video offerings to be available, but that bundled offerings should be available soon after the deal closes, which the companies expect to occur within 12 months.

AT&T is currently the second-largest wireless provider with 116 million customers.

The company will gain access to DirecTV’s 20.3 million U.S. customers and its 18.1 million Latin American customers. DirecTV’s U.S. customers, coupled with 5.7 million U-verse TV customers, will give the combined AT&T-DirecTV 26 million U.S. users for video.

That would make it the second-largest pay TV operator behind a combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable, which would serve 30 million under a $45 billion merger proposed in February.

“What it does is it gives us the pieces to fulfill a vision we’ve had for a couple of years — the ability to take premium content and deliver it across multiple points: your smartphone, tablet, television or laptop,” AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said during a conference call Sunday.

Poll: Harder to care for spouse than mom

WASHINGTON (AP) — You promise “in sickness and in health,” but a new poll shows becoming a caregiver to a frail spouse causes more stress than having to care for mom, dad or even the in-laws.

Americans 40 and older say they count on their families to care for them as they age, with good reason: Half of them already have been caregivers to relatives or friends, the poll found.

But neither the graying population nor the loved ones who expect to help them are doing much planning for long-term care. In fact, people are far more likely to disclose their funeral plans to friends and family than reveal their preferences for assistance with day-to-day living as they get older, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

And while 8 in 10 people who’ve been caregivers called it a positive experience, it’s also incredibly difficult.

“Your relationship changes. Life as you know it becomes different,” said Raymond Collins, 62, of Houston, who retired early in part to spend time with his wife, Karen. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 15 years ago, her mobility has deteriorated enough that she now uses a wheelchair.

Collins, a former business manager for an oil company, said he has felt stress, frustration and, at times, anger.

Stocks edge higher after corporate deals

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks finished slightly higher on Monday, adding to the small gains the market carved out at the end of last week.

A dearth of fresh economic data had many investors focusing on headline-grabbing corporate deals, including a $48.5 billion bid by AT&T to acquire satellite TV provider DirecTV and a joint venture between Johnson Controls and a Chinese company that will form the world’s largest maker of automotive interiors.

The latest batch of deals is a good sign for the market and further illustrates that many companies have the financial ammunition and appetite to grow through acquisitions.

Even so, much of the market remained in drift mode Monday, but still near the latest all-time high set by the Standard &Poor’s 500 index a week ago.

“We’re seeing big deals — this AT&T deal is big,” said Marc Doss, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank. “But it’s not enough to drive us dramatically higher in the short run.”

The three major indexes were down in premarket trading as investors reacted to the AT&T-DirecTV deal, which was announced late Sunday. The proposed deal would create the second-largest pay TV operator behind a combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable.

 

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