AT&T Buys DirecTV in $49B Stock-And-Cash Deal
DALLAS — AT&T Inc. on Sunday agreed to buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion, or $95 per share, a move that gives telecommunications company a larger base of video subscribers and increases its ability to compete against Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which agreed to a merger in February.
AT&T’s proposed combination, which is subject to government review, could improve its Internet service by pushing its existing U-verse TV subscribers into video-over-satellite service, and thereby free up bandwidth on its telecommunications network.
AT&T currently offers a high-speed Internet plan in a bundle with DirecTV television service. The acquisition would help it further reap the benefits of that alliance.
With 5.7 million U-verse TV customers and 20.3 million DirecTV customers in the U.S., the combined entity would serve 26 million. That would make it the second-largest pay TV operator behind a combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable, which would serve 30 million.
The companies expect the deal to close within 12 months. Under the terms agreed to Sunday, DirecTV shareholders will receive $28.50 per share in cash and $66.50 per share in AT&T stock. The total transaction value is $67.1 billion, including DirecTV’s net debt.
The deal could face tough scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission and antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice.
Unlike Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable — which don’t compete in the same territory — AT&T’s U-verse, offered in 22 states, does compete directly for TV customers with DirecTV, which is available nationwide.
JONATHAN ALCORN / REUTERS
DirecTV satellite dishes sit atop an apartment roof in Los Angeles, Calif.
The combination would reduce consumers’ options for pay TV providers from four to three for about 25 percent of U.S. households, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Ben Swinburne. Fewer competitors could result in higher prices, a situation that usually gives regulators cause for concern.
Analysts have also questioned the strategic benefits of a deal that would give AT&T a larger presence in the mature market for pay TV.
Last year, pay TV subscribers fell for the first time, dipping 0.1 percent to 94.6 million, according to Leichtman Research Group.
While AT&T and DirecTV are doing better than cable companies at attracting TV subscribers, DirecTV’s growth in the U.S. has stalled while AT&T is growing the fastest of any TV provider.
Long term, the deal may offer little help to AT&T as viewers continue to watch more video online.
DirecTV offers neither fixed-line nor mobile Internet service, and its rights to airwave frequencies for satellite TV are not the kind that AT&T can use to improve its mobile phone network.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has spoken exuberantly about how the growth of online video helps boost demand for its Internet and mobile services. Last month, AT&T entered a joint venture with the Chernin Group to invest in online video services.
AT&T is based in Dallas. DirecTV would continue to be based in El Segundo, California, following the merger, the companies said.
A young executive was leaving the office late one evening when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.
“Listen,” said the CEO, “this is a very sensitive and important document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work for me?”
“Certainly,” said the young executive. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button.
“Excellent, excellent!” said the CEO, as his paper disappeared inside the machine. “I just need one copy…”
Income Inequality Emerges As Key Topic To Avoid In 2014 Elections | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source
Income Inequality Emerges As Key Topic To Avoid In 2014 Elections
WASHINGTON—Citing the recent failure to increase the federal minimum wage and the continuing struggles of the country’s shrinking middle class, political strategists reported Monday that income inequality has emerged as the most important topic for politicians to avoid in this year’s upcoming elections. “The well-documented and steadily increasing gap between the rich and poor has come to the fore as the hot-button issue that all congressional candidates will be dodging at town halls, in televised debates, and at voter meet-and-greets in 2014,” said political analyst Rebecca Diemer, noting that both Democrats and Republicans were already holding meetings with top aides and focus groups to strategize the best way to brush aside the subject before they hit the campaign trail. “Come November, voters are going to have a lot of questions about economic disparity, taxes, CEO pay, and public welfare programs, which candidates are going to have to be prepared to address with noncommittal and completely insubstantial answers no more than one sentence long. It’s going to be a subject you’ll hear candidates divert from over and over again right up until Election Day.” Diemer added that immigration had also surfaced as the leading issue for candidates to completely forget about once they are elected.
NATION STUNNED TO LEARN CONGRESS ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING FIFTY YEARS AGO
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Millions of Americans were in a state of shock this past week after learning that Congress had accomplished something fifty years ago.
Although the incident was widely reported throughout the week, the revelation that Congress had achieved something positive and substantial for the country a half century ago left many incredulous and baffled.
Adding to their disbelief were reports that the accomplishment came as the result of collaboration between a Democrat in the White House and Republicans in Congress.
Making the scenario even more far-fetched, politicians of both parties came to an agreement without the interference of corporate paymasters operating them like puppets.
Tracy Klugian, thirty-four, was one of many Americans who found “the whole thing hard to swallow.”
“I searched for it on Google, and it’s true: Congress did actually get something done for the good of the country and all,” he said. “Still, when I first heard about it, it sounded like a hoax.”
Above: President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act, 1964. Photograph courtesy Cecil Stoughton, White House Press Office.
Yours to cut out and keep
Apr 14th 2014, 16:30
IF EVER a technology were ripe for disruption, it is the microscope. Benchtop microscopes have remained essentially unchanged since the 19th century—their shape a cartoonist’s cliché of science akin to alchemical glassware and Bunsen burners. And that lack of change has costs. Microscopes are expensive (several hundred dollars for a reasonable one) and need to be serviced and maintained. Unfortunately, one important use of them is in poor-world laboratories and clinics, for identifying pathogens, and such places often have small budgets and lack suitably trained technicians.
That, thinks Manu Prakash, a bioengineer at Stanford University, provides an opening for a bit of lateral thinking. And Dr Prakash’s mental sideways movement has led him to design a microscope made almost entirely of paper, which is so cheap that the question of servicing it goes out of the window.
Individual , as Dr Prakash dubs them, are printed on A4 sheets of paper (ideally polymer-coated for durability). A pattern of perforations on the sheet marks out the ’scope’s components, which are colour-coded in a way intended to assist the user in the task of assembly—for the Foldscope has no written instructions to guide, or possibly frustrate, the user.
The Foldscope’s non-paper components, a poppy-seed-sized spherical lens made of borosilicate or corundum, a light-emitting diode (LED), a watch battery, a switch and some copper tape to complete the electrical circuit, are pressed into or bonded onto the paper. (The lenses are actually bits of abrasive grit intended to roll around in tumblers that smooth-off metal parts.) A high-resolution version of this costs less than a dollar, and offers a magnification of up to 2,100 times and a resolving power of less than a micron. A lower-spec version (up to 400x magnification) costs less than 60 cents.
The whole device weighs less than 10 grams, can fit in someone’s pocket, requires no external power and takes standard microscope slides. Sliding and flexing the Foldscope’s struts with thumb and fingers (see picture) lets the user move a slide around and then focus on the relevant bit of it. The Foldscope can be adapted, by fitting it with a more powerful LED, to project what it sees onto a screen, and the design can be modified to accommodate multiple lenses or filters. Dunk it in water, drop it from a rooftop or stamp on it (though not with a slide inside), and it will still work.
Dr Prakash sees the Foldscope’s main use as a diagnostic tool for tropical diseases. Malaria, for example, can be caused by several species of parasite. Knowing which is responsible in a particular case can affect the treatment chosen. Foldscopes should also help diagnose other widespread diseases, such as schistosomiasis, loiasis and sleeping sickness.
He hopes, too, that they will help enthuse the next generation of doctors and scientists. To this end he and his team have drummed up more than 10,000 people from 130 countries to devise simple, relevant microscopy-based experiments. A Mongolian farmer, for instance, wants to show his fellows why they should boil milk to make it safer. An American beekeeper proposes to use Foldscopes to show his fellow apiculturalists how to identify bee-killing mites and fungi. And a 12-year-old Qatari would like to study the Namib desert beetle, which scavenges drinking water from morning fogs. The results, when published on the web, will become part of a manual of microscopy for everyman (and woman) that Dr Prakash hopes will encourage yet more experimentation.
I have said in the past that unless Republicans stop their war on women’s reproductive rights, and come to some form of compromise on immigration, they will not win any nationally elected office in the foreseeable future. This was proven out when Romney failed to unseat President Obama, despite Obama’s abject failure at delivering on the many promises he made during his 2008 campaign, when he ran under the banner of “Hope and Change.”
In the 2012 elections, Romney won the white vote with 59%, compared to 39% for Obama, but it went downhill from there. African-Americans chose Obama over Romney by a whopping 93% to 6%. Hispanics also went for Obama by a 71% to 27% margin. The Asian margin was 73% to 26%. And most importantly women, who account for 53% of all voters, chose Obama by a 55% to 44% margin. These numbers were impossible to overcome…
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America, Get Ready for ‘A2 Milk’ – Proponents say it’s healthier than current variety, which is rich in A1 protein
America, Get Ready for ‘A2 Milk’
PROPONENTS SAY IT’S HEALTHIER THAN CURRENT VARIETY, WHICH IS RICH IN A1 PROTEIN
By Matt Cantor, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2014 7:17 AM CDT
(NEWSER) – Those sickened by US milk may not be lactose intolerant—in fact, if they were to head abroad, one in four might find the stuff easier to drink. That’s because of a protein known as A1 that’s typically predominant in the milk of Holstein cows, which are widespread in the US, explains Mother Jones. In Asia and Africa, you’ll often find milk that instead has more A2 protein; it’s also predominant in Jersey and Guernsey cows, not to mention human and goat milk. “More than 100 studies suggest links between the A1 protein and a whole range of health conditions,” says a New Zealand professor.
Those conditions include heart disease, autism, and diabetes. Drinking A1 releases a chemical known as beta-casomorphin7, which appears to exist in higher amounts in the blood of people with autism and schizophrenia, for instance. Milk with more A2 is hard to find in the US right now, though A2 Holsteins do exist, and with money and time, the US dairy industry could make a transition. Meanwhile, a New Zealand company is preparing to send A2 milk our way this year, the New Zealand Herald reports. “We’ve already been talking with farmers,” says the head of A2 Corporation, and “we’re starting to engage with (US) retailers.” (As for lactose intolerance, raw milk may hurt drinkers more than it helps.)
American dairy cows may be providing you with less-healthy milk. (Shutterstock)