DirecTV CEO: Dish Merger Could Benefit Consumers Amid Rising Content Costs
DirecTV CEO Mike White said Friday that a possible combination with Dish Network, if that option is ever revisited, could be seen as being "pro-consumer" amid a continuing increase in programming costs.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York in a session that was webcast, he said the industry has changed since the last time the companies pursued a deal a few years ago. After all, telecom giants' video services are already available in half the country, and there continues to be a "challenging content cost environment," White said.
Asked if Dish chairman Charlie Ergen's acquisition of wireless spectrum was a draw for him, White said: "It wouldn't change my thinking one way or another," because "wireless is so competitive" that "it's hard for us to see why we would want to go and compete in that space."
Discussing continued questions about a possible spin-off of DirecTV Latin America, White told the Goldman conference that there are synergies in terms of talent and resources. " It's the same business we're in in the U.S.," he highlighted, adding that the company's stock got less credit for the Latin America business before he joined. All that means that DirecTV remains "the best parent for [DirecTV] Latin America," he said.
Vivendi has recently considered selling Brazilian telecom and broadband firm GVT, with DirecTV's name mentioned as a possible suitor. "We look at everything," but are "very, very disciplined" and apply "a strategic lens and a financial lens" to all possible deals, White said. "It's so premature and so speculative. it is an interesting asset. It has broadband. We are building some broadband in Brazil," but it is a long way to a potential bid or deal.
Answering a follow-up question if he expects to bid for GVT, White reiterated: "It's an interesting asset, [but] we look at a lot of things. We'll see."