Awful transaction and timing: AT&T finally ditches DirecTV

A man with an umbrella walking past a building with an AT&T logo.

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AT&T has completed its spinoff of DirecTV after six years of mismanagement in which nearly 10 million customers ditched the company's pay-TV services.

AT&T bought DirecTV for $49 billion ($67 billion including debt) in July 2015 even though DirecTV and other traditional TV services were already losing subscribers in the face of competition from online streaming. Customer losses were inevitable but DirecTV's losses under AT&T ownership went far beyond anything experienced by other major TV providers.

AT&T revealed the spinoff plan in February and announced the deal's completion yesterday. AT&T partnered with private-equity firm TPG to create a new company called DirecTV, which "will own and operate the DirecTV, AT&T TV, and U-verse video services previously owned and operated by AT&T," the announcement said.

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