AT&T underwhelmed by ‘lowball’ DirecTV bids, report says

8 Oct 2020

AT&T has reportedly invited a handful of would-be bidders to participate in the second round of an auction for its struggling satellite TV business, DirecTV. However, the New York Post reports that the bidding has stalled at well below USD20 billion – a fraction of the sum AT&T paid for the asset around five years ago. Citing ‘sources close to the process’, the newspaper says that the opening bids – courtesy of a number of buyout firms – came in at just USD15.75 billion. Goldman Sachs is understood to be managing the sale process.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in May 2014 AT&T entered into a definitive agreement to acquire US and Latin American satellite TV provider DirecTV in a stock-and-cash transaction with a total equity value of USD48.5 billion, and a total transaction value of USD67.1 billion, including DirecTV’s net debt. In late July 2015 the deal was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and completed shortly thereafter.

AT&T was expected to use the acquisition of DirecTV – which holds 4G licences in a number of major Latin American markets – as a platform for its wireless expansion plans in LatAm. However, an initial public offering (IPO) of LatAm holding company Vrio Corp was scrapped in April 2018 due to ‘market conditions’, and AT&T’s interest in the wider region waned.

United States, AT&T, DirecTV Group