AT&T U-Verse, CBS Sign Carriage Pact

While it awaits final regulatory approval on its $48.5 billion merger with DirecTV, AT&T has reached a carriage agreement with broadcaster CBS, a deal that some had expected would have waited until after the larger deal was completed.

In a brief statement, CBS said that a deal had been reached.

“AT&T and CBS have reached an agreement to continue our long-standing relationship, which includes carrying the CBS Owned TV Stations, Showtime Channels, CBS Sports Network, Smithsonian, and Pop (launching in 2016) on AT&T U-verse,” CBS said in a statement. “Ultimately, we both want to provide our customers with the shows they want, when and how they care to watch.”

AT&T's confirmation was even more brief.

“AT&T and CBS have reached an agreement to continue our long-standing relationship,” AT&T said.

The deal comes just as AT&T is expected to receive the nod on its $48.5 billion merger with DirecTV. On June 30, the parties said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that they were extending the termination date for the merger, but that they expected the deal to be “consummated shortly.”  

Some analysts had expected AT&T to hold off on signing a deal until after the DirecTV merger closes, because it would give them greater negotiating leverage. (DirecTV still has several years left on its existing CBS pact.)