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AT&T, DirecTV propose merger

– AT&T Inc. on Sunday agreed to buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion, or $95 per share, a move that gives telecommunications company a larger base of video subscribers and increases its ability to compete against Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which agreed to a merger in February.

AT&T’s proposed combination, which is subject to government review, 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.

With 5.7 million U-verse TV customers and 20.3 million DirecTV customers in the U.S., the combined entity would serve 26 million. That would make it the second-largest pay TV operator behind a combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable, which would serve 30 million.

AT&T and DirecTV expect their deal to close within 12 months pending regulatory approval.

P&G plans huge center northwest of Dayton

Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble is planning a major distribution center in southwest Ohio to serve the Midwest.

A company spokesman said last week the $89 million, 1 million-square-foot facility will open next winter in Union, northwest of Dayton. It’s one of six vast complexes that P&G is building near major U.S. population centers with efficient road and rail networks. Spokesman Jeff LeRoy said the goal is to reduce corporate transportation costs and get products to customers faster.

Two Ohio companies have been tapped to operate the Union facility. Columbus’ Exel, a supply-chain logistics provider, and Cincinnati’s Quality Associates, a contract packager, are expected to employ about 800 people.

Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble is the world’s largest consumer product maker. It makes such well-known brands as Tide, Pampers and Crest.

Buffett’s company invests in Verizon

Warren Buffett’s company disclosed a new investment of 11 million shares in Verizon Communications Inc. on Thursday and increased its stakes in Wal-Mart and IBM.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. revealed the changes to its $106 billion portfolio in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that show what the company owned at the end of March.

Berkshire bought 8.6 million Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shares to increase its investment in the retail giant to 58 million shares. Buffett has said in the past that he regretted not buying more Wal-Mart stock earlier when he was building Berkshire’s stake in the company.

Berkshire also bumped up its IBM Corp. investment to 68.4 million shares by buying 233,100 shares in the quarter.