DirecTV Group acquiring 180 Connect


NEW YORK -- DirecTV Group, in an effort to beef up and directly control customer service, has agreed to acquire most of the satellite TV business of installation services provider 180 Connect for about $49 million and installation services from another service firm.

"The transaction will provide DirecTV with control over a significant portion of its installation and home service network," the company said. DirecTV will acquire 180 Connect for $1.80 per share in a deal expected to close in the third quarter. Including the assumption of debt, the deal is valued at about $105 million.

In a separate transaction, UniTek USA Llc. has agreed to acquire 180 Connect's cable services unit -- which services Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems, among others -- and certain DirecTV installation services markets in exchange for UniTek's satellite installation services in New York City, Burbank and Bloomington, Calif., and an undisclosed amount of cash.

180 Connect is one of DirecTV's largest installation and home service providers with a presence in 45 U.S. markets. DirecTV had outsourced all its installation service operations through 13 home service provider companies.

The deals unveiled Friday are "an important part of our effort to continuously improve the customer experience," said Mike Palkovic, executive vp operations at DirecTV.