AT&T is considering selling a minority stake in DIRECTV, AT&T TV Now and U-verse, possibly to Apollo Global Management, the equity firm, according to a CNBC report.
The telco has been shopping for a buyer for DIRECTV, according to multiple news reports. The satcaster has lost several million subscribers since AT&T purchased it in 2015.
But CNBC says 30-49 percent of DIRECTV, AT&T TV Now and U-verse could be sold to an equity firm in the next few months. Quoting sources, the report says the buyer would control the three pay TV operations although it would not hold a majority stake.
This would allow AT&T to reduce company debt, and spend more time on building its streaming services, HBO Max and AT&T TV. (AT&T TV Now is a different live streaming service from AT&T TV.) AT&T CEO John Stankey has said repeatedly that both are top company priorities now.
In fact, Stankey recently told the Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference that AT&T was looking for opportunities to jettison “businesses that aren’t positioned for long-term growth,” business which would be “distractions” for management.
CNBC says AT&T is expecting final bids for the three pay TV services in early December.
“Under the terms of the proposed deal, AT&T would retain majority economic ownership of the businesses, and would maintain ownership of U-verse infrastructure, including plants and fiber. The buyer would control the pay-TV distribution operations and consolidate the business on its books. The deal could include 30% to 49% of the combined pay-TV distribution businesses, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private,” CNBC said.
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