May 19 - Stocks rallied as investors wade through a number of deals include AT&T's offer to purchase DirecTV, Google's reported talks with Twitch, and Pfizer's rebuffed attempt to buy AstraZeneca; U.S. accuses China of cyber spying. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Merger activity topping the corporate headlines. It's been rumored for weeks, but a deal between AT&T and DirecTV is finally a reality. The number two wireless provider is offering to buy the number one satellite TV provider to create America's second largest pay -TV provider. The tie-up still puts the two behind the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The $48.5 billion deal combines broadband, fixed-line telephone, mobile, and TV all under one roof. But it's the last two that's really driving this marriage, says Forrester Research principal analyst Jim Nail. SOUNDBITE: JIM NAIL, PRINCIPAL ANALYST, FORRESTER RESEARCH (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Consumers with their smartphones and tablets and their internet connections have come to expect access to any kind of information on any device, any time they want and that has started to hit the television business and what we seen the other cable and other TV providers provide through their TV-everywhere services and this is a real challenge for satellite." Shares of AT&T and DirecTV both moved lower. Speculation about what a deal could mean for DirecTV rival Dish didn't help out that stock. Comcast and Time Warner Cable both moved higher. Google, which already owns YouTube, is in talks to buy video-streaming service Twitch, according to the Wall Street Journal. Neither company would comment on the report. Shares of Google up roughly two percent on the day. But Pfizer still has not found the right prescription to snap up AstraZeneca. The U.S. drugmaker's take-it-or-leave-it higher $118 billion offer for its British peer - left off the table. AstraZeneca investors were upset leading to that stock's worst day on record. Pfizer shares ended up, but barely. A little bit of earnings news to digest. The unusually cold and stormy winter didn't lead to great quarterly results at Campbell Soup, hurt by lower-priced competition, sending that stock down by more than two percent. Taking all that news into account, Wall Street finished higher led by a rebound in tech shares. On the international front: the U.S. is accusing China of cyber corporate espionage. The Department of Justice announced five Chinese military officers were charged with hacking into several U.S. companies. China denies those charges. Finally, European stocks mixed as investors await a landmark tax evasion guilty plea from Swiss Bank Credit Suisse.