AT&T is said to be very close to a deal for a minority stake in DirecTV.
Both Bloomberg and CNBC cited sources as saying that AT&T is close to closing a deal with private equity firm TPG that would value the company at $15 billion. The news follows a report by the New York Post in December that AT&T had engaged TPG about a deal after previous offers had failed to meet AT&T’s expectations. AT&T bought DirecTV for $49 billion back in 2015, and it’s possible the company had hoped to scrape some of that back. But DirecTV has also been hemorrhaging customers for years, so there’s that.
A spokesperson for AT&T declined to comment.
Citing sources, CNBC reported that the companies could announce the agreement as soon as this week. The outlet also reported that AT&T CEO John Stankey hadn’t wanted to sell the company’s problem child in full, despite AT&T’s astronomical debt that currently stands at around $150 billion.
AT&T has also bet big on its great big HBO Max experiment, a strange hodgepodge of licensed content, HBO content, Max originals, and then all of the WarnerMedia stuff that got shuffled into the service as well. The service is AT&T’s answer to Netflix and Disney+, though those services’ active subscriptions continue to balloon—with 200 million and 95 million subscriptions, respectively—while HBO Max reported most recently that it had 17.17 million “activated” users. Possibly throwing all of its 2021 Warner Bros. films on the service will help.
It is, of course, possible that the deal will fall through. But maybe AT&T will finally be able to make its decaying satellite company somebody else’s problem.
Correction: This article originally cited the deal as being worth $15 million. The deal is said to value DirecTV at $15 billion. We regret the error.