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AT&T Buys Quickplay to Power DirecTV’s Internet-Video Services

AT&T is acquiring Quickplay Media, a provider of Internet-video streaming services, which it will use to launch three over-the-top DirecTV services later in 2016.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The telecom giant is acquiring Quickplay from Madison Dearborn Partners, a private-equity firm that bought the Toronto-based company for $100 million in 2012. AT&T said it plans to retain Quickplay’s more than 350 employees and contractors.

AT&T is an existing customer of Quickplay, whose platform the telco currently uses for its U-verse TV Everywhere service. AT&T said it will use Quickplay as the infrastructure for the three DirecTV OTT services — DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview — which will put the satellite TV distributor into competition with other broadband-delivered TV players like Dish Network’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Verizon’s Go90. Hulu also is planning to launch a “skinny” Internet TV bundle in 2017.

For AT&T, the Quickplay acquisition brings a content-delivery platform to its existing network and content pillars, providing what execs say is an end-to-end stack for video distribution.

“Quickplay’s multi-tenant IP distribution infrastructure, combined with AT&T’s leading scale in IP connected end points, will allow us to host and distribute all forms of video traffic,” said John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, in a statement. “We intend to scale and operate an industry-leading video distribution platform, and viewers will get the high-quality online video viewing experience they desire.”

Founded in 2004, Quickplay says it delivers more than 700 live video channels and 4,000 live events annually. The company is based in Toronto, with offices in San Diego, Singapore, Chennai, India, and Frankfurt, Germany. In June 2011, QuickPlay acquired the network operations center assets of FLO TV from Qualcomm as part of its U.S. expansion.

In addition to AT&T U-verse, other Quickplay customers include Vodafone, AccuWeather, Rogers Communications, Canada’s Bell, Sirius XM, Telus and Verizon Wireless.

“With AT&T, we’ll have the resources we need to further scale, grow the business, and continuously enhance that platform,” Wayne Purboo, Quickplay’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals in the U.S. and Canada along with other customary closing conditions. The companies expect to close the deal in mid-2016.

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