AT&T raised $5 billion through the sale of unsecured bonds, as it stepped up efforts to tackle a huge debt load amassed during a period of acquisitions, Bloomberg reported.

The news agency stated an AT&T filing showed it sold the bonds in as many as two parts to refinance its debt, with the proceeds going towards repaying bonds issued by AT&T and subsidiaries of DirecTV. AT&T bought DirecTV in 2015 for $49 billion.

Citing people close to the matter, Bloomberg reported the company raised $5 billion through the sale, although the figure was not confirmed in the filing. The operator is looking to reduce a debt load that has hit up to $171 million.

As well as the purchase of DirecTV, AT&T in 2018 also splashed $85 billion for Time Warner.

Cut debt
In its most recent quarterly financial results, AT&T said it would target reducing its high debt alongside free cash flow and asset monetisation initiatives.

It aims to cut debt by around $20 billion by the end of the year.

Bloomberg added that credit ratings agencies have expressed concern about AT&T’s debt load relative to its earnings. The operator currently holds a BBB ranking with Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings, the lowest tier investment grade.

Rival Verizon is on the same ranking, with both companies using low interest rates to finance acquisitions at the expense of credit metrics, added Bloomberg.