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Roberts: AT&T/DirecTV ‘Powerful Combination’

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts told analysts Tuesday that he believes AT&T’s pending deal to acquire DirecTV is a “powerful combination,” adding that the $67 billion merger validates the idea that the market is changing rapidly.

Roberts, speaking on a conference call with analysts to discuss second quarter results, said the two companies are “part of the reason we have lost video subs,” over the past six years.

“And it sort of for me validates the changing and dynamic nature of the market that we are living in, the technological changes, the consumer behavior changes that are happening at very fast speeds,” Roberts said.

AT&T’s May decision to acquire DirecTV in a cash and stock deal was a direct response to Comcast’s own pending $69 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The TWC deal will create a cable operator with about 30 million subscribers, still well ahead of the 26 million the combined AT&T/DirecTV will amass.

Roberts again reiterated that the Comcast/TWC union does not diminish competition – there is no overlap between the two companies’ footprints

“I think long-term we are assuming, and we always did assume, that the world is changing who your competitors are, what their capabilities are, whether it is quad play or other things,” Roberts said. “And I think our company is really well-positioned and that is why we are excited about the proposed transaction.”

AT&T has said that it would offer video, voice and fixed wireless service to about 70 million homes and provide a more competitive bundle of video and broadband for an additional 45 million homes after the merger. 

Comcast has said that its TWC combination would create about $1.5 billion in costs synergies, a figure it reiterated in the Tuesday conference call.