Morning Media Newsfeed: AT&T to Acquire DirecTV | NYT Publisher Speaks | CNN Fires Editor

[emailonly]{{{ sbox300x250 }}}[/emailonly] Click here to receive Mediabistro’s Morning Media Newsfeed via email.

AT&T to Buy DirecTV for $48.5 Billion (NYT / DealBook)
AT&T formally agreed on Sunday to buy DirecTV for about $48.5 billion, striking another transaction meant to overhaul the American telecommunications landscape. CNNMoney The boards of the two companies met on Sunday to approve the plan. “This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry and create a company able to offer new bundles and deliver content to consumers across multiple screens — mobile devices, TVs, laptops, cars and even airplanes,” said Randall Stephenson, the chief executive of AT&T, in a statement. WSJ Just months ago, Comcast Corp. announced a $45 billion agreement to buy Time Warner Cable, a combination that would serve close to 30 million video subscribers, after proposed divestitures. Meanwhile, Sprint Corp. continues to work on a bid for smaller rival T-Mobile US Inc., people familiar with the matter say. The deal for DirecTV gives AT&T almost 26 million pay TV subscribers and a national footprint in the business at a time when the telecom carrier sees video delivery as core to its future. The Associated Press Dallas-based AT&T’s proposed combination 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. DirecTV would continue to be based in El Segundo, Calif., following the merger. The companies expect the deal to close within 12 months following a government review.

New York Times Publisher Takes Media to Task for Abramson Coverage (FishbowlNY)
The spiraling debate and speculative coverage of Jill Abramson‘s departure from The New York Times as a pay-inequality issue finally became too much for her boss to bear. Saturday afternoon, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. categorically denied the notion that Abramson was paid less than her male predecessors. Capital New York “Perhaps the saddest outcome of my decision to replace Jill Abramson as executive editor of The New York Times is that it has been cast by many as an example of the unequal treatment of women in the workplace,” Sulzberger said in the statement. “Rather than accepting that this was a situation involving a specific individual who, as we all do, has strengths and weaknesses, a shallow and factually incorrect storyline has emerged.” Following the announcement of Abramson’s firing Wednesday, The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta reported that Abramson had hired a lawyer after learning that her salary was less than that of predecessor Bill Keller. Mediaite Sulzberger insisted Abramson’s pay package was actually 10 percent higher than Keller’s. Sulzberger said “her management of the newsroom was simply not working out” and that’s why she had to go. Sulzberger cited conversations he had with Abramson’s colleagues, who cited “arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues” as issues they had with her. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Additionally, New York Times Co CEO Mark Thompson sent a memo to a small group of colleagues on Friday after Auletta published another report late Thursday night revealing that Abramson’s annual salary had been less than that of Keller’s, and substantially less than that of her male counterparts for the last 14 years of her career, sometimes by as much as $100,000. Auletta’s report also stated that Abramson’s decision to hire a lawyer had been a factor in the Times’ decision to fire her. WSJ Abramson, 60, was named to her post in September 2011. She was the first woman to hold that position. Abramson was succeeded by Dean Baquet, 57. Baquet had been the paper’s No. 2 editor. He is the first African-American to hold the executive editor post.