AT&T is nearing a deal to sell a substantial minority stake in its DirecTV, AT&T TV Now and U-Verse business to private-equity firm TPG, according to CNBC on Tuesday.
“The deal will value the AT&T businesses at around $15 billion. AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015 for $48.5 billion ($67 billion with debt),” the reports adds. The deal could be announced sometime this week.
“AT&T lost nearly 3 million video customers last year,” CNBC goes on, “and took a $15.5 billion impairment charge due to the company’s re-evaluation of its domestic video business.”
Much of AT&T’s future is up in the air. In addition to its shift away from traditional pay-TV, buzz last fall indicated that AT&T CEO John Stankey and chairman Randall Stephenson had grown uncomfortable with CNN’s controversial programming. “No one at AT&T has a problem with Turner Classic Movies, but they are worried CNN angers so many Republicans in Washington,” a banker said.
What’s more, LightShedPartners analyst Richard Greenfield has recently argued that AT&T WarnerMedia should merge with NBCUniversal. This would have an enormous domino effect on the entertainment and streaming industry.
“It is time for both AT&T and Comcast to abandon the fool’s gold of vertical integration of content and distribution and merge NBCUniversal with WarnerMedia,” Greenfield says.
As for your AT&T phones, nothing is changing there.
Selling these assets to TPG will provide AT&T with cash to pay down its debt, which is reported to be about $150 billion.