AT&T is about to partly sell DirecTV and AT&T TV Now, report says


Sarah Tew/CNET

AT&T is close to reaching a deal for a private equity firm to buy a minority stake in its satellite TV arm, according to a report Tuesday. The deal, as reported by CNBC, would include DirecTV, AT&T TV Now and U-Verse, and would value that business at around $15 billion.

It follows reports in August last year that AT&T was again considering offloading its DirecTV business to private equity firms in a deal worth less than $20 billion.

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The move comes as AT&T focuses more on streaming services after AT&T’s WarnerMedia launched streaming service HBO Max in July 2020. HBO Max is the most expensive streaming service on the market, costing $15 a month.

AT&T merged AT&T TV Now — its streaming service — with AT&T TV, its cable and satellite alternative, in January this year. The carrier had launched AT&T TV in March 2020 to provide DirecTV channels over internet streaming rather than satellite. AT&T TV was designed to replace DirecTV and traditional cable TV. It features live TV channels — including ABC and Fox, plus cable channels such as ESPN, TNT, Nickelodeon and HGTV — that are streamed over the internet.

AT&T was reportedly first looking to ditch DirecTV or merge it with Dish in 2019 after it lost 4 million pay TV subscribers in 2019, ending that year with 20.4 million subscribers in the US. According to CNBC, AT&T lost almost 3 million video customers in 2020.

AT&T declined to comment, saying it doesn’t “comment on rumor or speculation.”

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