AT&T eyes new DirecTV deal option - Mobile World Live

AT&T eyes new DirecTV deal option

04 NOV 2020

AT&T considered the sale of a minority stake in its family of pay-TV businesses, CNBC reported, appearing to shift strategy after a proposed deal to offload its DirecTV unit alone elicited lowball offers.

CNBC reported a proposal currently under consideration would span the operator’s DirecTV, AT&T Now and U-verse units, with the operator ceding management of distribution operations but retaining control of fibre infrastructure used by the services. It could sell as much as a 49 per cent stake in the businesses, the outlet added.

A number of private equity groups, including Apollo Management, were named as interested parties.

In Q3, AT&T’s pay-TV businesses collectively lost 590,000 subscribers, an improvement from a loss of nearly 1.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

The news comes after various media reported attempts to shop DirecTV to potential buyers in recent months drew bids well below the $49 billion AT&T paid for the business in 2015.

Last year, AT&T CEO John Stankey denied rumours it planned to sell DirecTV, but on a recent earnings call declined to address renewed speculation about a potential transaction.

A deal would be in line with AT&T’s continued efforts to reduce debt by offloading non-core assets: recently completed sales of entertainment and network holdings in Europe and the Caribbean yielded a combined $3 billion.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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