Saturday, August 29, 2020
AT&T Reportedly Seeking DirecTV Deal
AT&T Inc.is taking a fresh look at its DirecTV business, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter, exploring a deal for a service wounded by cord-cutting.
The telecom and media giant and its advisers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have been in talks with private-equity suitors about the satellite TV unit, some of the people said. Potential bidders include Apollo Global Management Inc., which had expressed interest last year, and Platinum Equity, these people said.
The process is at an early stage, and it’s not clear what form any deal would take—or if there will be one at all. It is possible some of the suitors will team up or submit joint proposals. Other investors that were approached have decided not to pursue bids, some of the people said.
AT&T executives have previously explored parting with DirecTV assets, including a potential spinoff or combining assets with rival Dish Network Corp., but obstacles, including antitrust concerns, have gotten in the way.
A private-equity buyer could avoid those regulatory concerns. AT&T is looking to sell just over 50% of the asset, which would allow the telecom giant to take a fast-shrinking business off its books while still enjoying the benefits of a still-large distribution network, some of the people said.
Any deal for the satellite TV service would be sizable but likely a far cry from the $49 billion AT&T paid for it in 2015. The pay-TV unit has lost millions of subscribers in recent years as viewers switch to on-demand entertainment services like Netflix Inc. A deal could value the business below $20 billion, some of the people said.
If a deal is reached, it would start to streamline a company that used a series of acquisitions in the last decade to shift from a phone-service provider into a media conglomerate. It also left the enlarged AT&T with a large debt load.
Posted 4:03:00 AM