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AT&T Nearing Deal to Sell Large Minority Stake in DirecTV

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.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers any news story that deserves attention but focuses on media. His interests include reading Stephen King novels, avoiding traffic on the road, and pretending to solve true-crime mysteries. He still believes Cersei should've won and encourages everyone to always question the news.

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