AT&T is “nearing” a deal to sell a “substantial” minority stake in its DirecTV satellite TV service, as well as its U-verse and AT&T TV Now platforms, to private equity firm TPG, CNBC reports.
It was reported last month that AT&T was in serious talks with TPG, but the inclusion of the legacy U-verse platform, as well as the virtual MPVD AT&T TV Now, is somewhat of a new twist, although it had been previously bantered about in speculation.
The new report, based on the usual unnamed sources close to the negotiations, said the deal would value the assets at around $15 billion—also in line with previous leaks.
AT&T didn't immediately respond to Next TV's inquiry for comment and confirmation.
AT&T would use the proceeds to pay down $150 billion in debt, partly accrued with the $49 billion purchase of DirecTV back in 2015.
In 2020, AT&T lost 3.261 million paid users across DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now, as well as its recently launched, IP-delivered AT&T TV platform. This came after the telecom shed nearly 4.1 million subscribers across its pay TV platforms in 2019.
AT&T finished 2020 with just 17.2 million pay TV subscribers across its platforms—a total that had surpassed 24 million as recently as 2018.
AT&T stopped selling new U-verse subscriptions over a year ago. And it ceased selling new AT&T TV Now vMPVD bundles last month. The telecom's video strategy is now centered around WarnerMedia and its HBO Max subscription steaming service, but the conglomerate is still actively selling AT&T TV as a bundled complement to services like fiber-based high-speed internet, as well as a means to get HBO Max into more homes.
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