AT&T is spinning off its DirecTV business, following the sale of a 30 percent stake in the unit to private equity firm TPG. TPG is paying $1.8 billion for its stake in DirecTV, which the deal values at $16.25 billion. AT&T paid $49 billion when it purchased the unit in 2015. After the transaction, the U.S. services of both DirecTV and AT&T TV will form an entity jointly run by AT&T and TPG. AT&T says that almost all current employees will be unaffected. AT&T executive Bill Morrow will be CEO of the new unit, in addition to serving on its board along with two representatives from each of the owners. AT&T finance chief John Stephens told the Wall Street Journal that “the disruption in pay TV” (i.e. massive cord-cutting) led DirecTV’s performance to fall far short of original projections. One benefit for AT&T: spinning off the unit means that losses from the company’s video operations will no longer be included in its consolidated financial reports.
Twitter is launching what it calls a “super follow” feature later this year. The feature will allow Twitter account holders to charge for exclusive additional content not seen on their regular feeds. The company says that the extra content can include subscriber-only newsletters, videos, deals and discounts. Users would pay a monthly subscription fee to access the extra content. In a statement, Twitter said that such funding opportunities as the super follow feature “will allow creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience and will incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience loves.” The company did not detail what percentage of the revenue it would share with those who sign up paying subscribers.
The Washington Post names Cameron Barr, one of its four managing editors, to be acting executive editor following Marty Baron’s Feb. 28 exit. Barr, managing editor in charge of news and features, is thought to be a leading candidate for the top job. Before joining the Post in 2004, he served as Tokyo bureau chief and Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor. He has also worked at the American Lawyer magazine and NBC News. Publisher Fred Ryan said that “the search for the next Executive Editor is actively underway with a broad and diverse group of exceptional journalists.”