Under the plan being discussed, DirecTV management will continue to run the company as a unit of AT&T and DirecTV Chief Executive Officer Mike White plans to retire after 2015, said the sources, asking not to be named because the information is private.
The $100 per share price values El Segundo, Calif.-based DirecTV at about $50 billion. That's about 29 percent above DirecTV's price on April 30, before initial reports of the talks. DirecTV rose 6 percent to $92.50 as of 5:15 p.m. in New York, after closing regular trading at $87.16 a share earlier Monday.
The purchase would give AT&T a satellite-TV provider to combine with its phone and broadband Internet offerings as competition ramps up. A deal could allow AT&T to offer U.S. subscribers a bundle of wireless, television, phone and high-speed broadband services.
DirecTV and AT&T are planning on a 12-month regulatory process to review the deal, one of the people said.
AT&T would acquire a pay-TV business that grew last year with expansion in Latin America and higher monthly user fees. DirecTV's exclusive content includes the National Football League Sunday Ticket package and products such as Genie, a multiroom DVR.
Comcast's plan to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. — to create an even bigger provider of both TV and Internet in the U.S. — is accelerating the drive for consolidation in the rest of the industry.
DirecTV had also drawn merger interest from Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen, sources said in March. While a DirecTV merger is tempting, the satellite-TV rival is too expensive to pursue, Ergen said last week in earnings discussions.