Cash-Cow Sports Media Rights Help Shape Bigger M&A Picture

By Karlee Weinmann (May 21, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT) -- By conditioning its proposed $48.5 billion DirecTV merger on a separate transaction for National Football League broadcast rights, AT&T Inc. this week became the latest buyer drawn by the allure of cash-cow sports media deals, which are demanding more attention than ever in the broader M&A marketplace.

Under the terms of their agreement, Texas-based AT&T can back out if DirecTV fails to renew its rights, which would strip the satellite-TV provider of its lucrative NFL Sunday Ticket package giving subscribers access to out-of-market games. Though DirecTV is seen as a shoo-in for the football deal, AT&T's insistence spotlights the increasing value...

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