WarnerMedia parent AT&T is looking to sell a chunk of satellite broadcaster DirecTV to private equity investors, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the the heavily indebted wireless giant pivots to media.
Suitors include Apollo Global Management, which is said to have expressed interest last year, and Platinum Equity.
AT&T declined to comment.
AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015 for $49 billion. As pay TV services shed subscribers in recent years, a deal today could value the division at $20 billion – or well less than half of its original price – WSJ said. The telco has also considered merging the business with smaller rival Dish Network, which could trigger antitrust concerns.
AT&T has a whopping $180 billion debt, a big chunk taken on when it bought Time Warner for $80 billion in 2018. It’s explored selling various assets. Many deals across sectors were put on hold by the pandemic. The wireless and broadband company has been pivoting to media, acquiring HBO, Warner Bros. and a family of cable networks in the Time Warner deal, paving the way for it to launch streaming service HBO Max in May.
The WarnerMedia division recently went through a major overhaul with divisions streamlined, major management changes and layoffs.
The DirecTV talks were said to be spurred by new CEO John Stankey.