AT&T is moving on to a second round of bidding in its effort to unload its DirecTV satellite division, according to the New York Post.
And that sales effort is turning out to be a “fire sale,” reports the New York Post, with bids from mostly private-equity suitors coming in at around $15.75 billion.
AT&T paid $49 billion for DirecTV back in 2015, emerging from a difficult yearlong regulatory crucible to complete its transaction. At the time, the satellite TV company had around 22 million subscribers. It ended the second quarter with around 14.3 million customers. AT&T long ago ceased customer promotions or any other kind of effort to grow the DirecTV subscriber base. Its linear pay TV focus is now on IP-distributed platform AT&T TV.
It’s also largely given up on leveraging the DirecTV brand.
“It is very, very surprising they would sell DirecTV at such a low price—that’s a serious destruction of value,” said an unnamed former AT&T executive to the Post.
It’s unclear who the remaining bidders are. Dish Network and Charlie Ergen have reportedly dropped their latest dalliance to merge their satellite TV operation with DirecTV, once again based on antitrust concerns.
Private equity companies Apollo and Platinum Equity Partners were earlier bidders, but it’s unclear as to whether they’re in the second round.
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