| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 14 AT&T Inc is working with
investment bank Lazard Ltd as it negotiates a potential
takeover of DirecTV, the country's top satellite TV
operator, according to people familiar with the matter.
AT&T is in active discussions to buy DirecTV for low to
mid-$90s per share, or nearly $50 billion, and is working to
finalize a deal in the next few weeks, Reuters reported on
Lazard, which advised Leap Wireless International on its
$1.2 billion sale to AT&T last year, is advising the wireless
giant this time around, the people said, asking not to be named
because the matter is not public.
The company has yet to bring in large balance sheet banks
for deal financing, according to the people, indicating that any
deal may take a few more weeks to materialize.
Representatives for AT&T declined to comment while Lazard
did not respond to requests for comment.
Reuters and others previously reported that DirecTV is
working with advisers including Goldman Sachs Group to
weigh a potential deal with AT&T.
The proposed deal, if it happens, would be a big fee-paying
event for Wall Street banks that are enjoying a revival in
mergers and acquisitions after several years of lackluster
activity following the financial crisis.
Based on a roughly $48 billion deal, advisers for AT&T could
earn between $40 million and $60 million in advisory fees, while
DirecTV's advisers could earn $50 million to $75 million,
according to preliminary estimates by consulting firm Freeman &
Co LLC. Those figures do not include any financing fees.
(Reporting by Soyoung Kim in New York; Editing by Lisa