AT&T considers selling Latam assets

Natalie Bannerman
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According to reports AT&T is deliberating selling the Latin American pay TV arm of its business in an attempt to reduce debt

AT&T is reportedly thinking about selling its Latin American pay TV offering, in an attempt to lower its debts before its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner completes. 

The deal, which is currently under review by the US Department of Justice, is said to increase by $180 million once it completes its purchase of Time Warner and has been looking for way to reduce this cost.

Speaking to Reuters, an unnamed source close to the proceedings said that AT&T is working with a financial advisor to review those who are interested in purchasing its Latin American holdings and that the sale, if it goes ahead, could be worth anywhere in the region of $8 billion. 

Names that have been linked to the deal as potential buyers include: Liberty Global, Telefonica SA and Millicom, though none of the named companies have confirmed these rumours. 

According to the source, AT&T may decide to keep its Latin American operations which include satellite and cable television services in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina but has made it clear that no matter happens it will retain its assets in Mexico, where it has already invested in wireless services, beginning with its acquisition of DirecTV in 2015 for an estimated $49 billion. 

The company was also rumoured to be thinking of selling its Digital Life, AT&T’s IoT home security business, which if successfully could sell for a reported $1 billion. 

As of the second quarter of 2017, AT&T has roughly 13 million subscribers in the Latam region, excluding Mexico. Of that, the company generated $1.4 billion in revenue. In addition it owns 93% of Sky Brazil the largest satellite provider in the region and it owns PanAmericana, which under the DirecTV brand offers satellite TV in Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Puerto Rico.

Though the European Commission has green lit the Time Warner merger and talks are progressing well in the US, AT&T have faced increased opposition in Latin America. Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense has deferred the matter to Brazil’s Administrative Tribunal over concerns of AT&T’s majority stake in pay TV operator Sky Brazil.