AT&T is nearing a $15 billion deal to sell a substantial minority stake in its DirecTV, AT&T TV Now and U-Verse business to private equity firm TPG, according to people familiar with the matter. A deal could be announced as soon as this week, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.
The group broadcaster grants a retrans extension to Dec. 1 as talks continue.
AT&T is considering selling significant minority stake in DirecTV, AT&T Now and U-Verse pay-TV operations. Final bids are due in early December, sources say. A deal could value DirecTV at less than $15 billion after AT&T acquired it for $67 billion plus debt about five years ago.
AT&T, which is trying to chip away at its large debt load and manage through a period of secular decline in its traditional pay TV businesses, has set a round of price hikes at DirecTV and U-verse. Beginning Jan. 19, 2020, some customers of the satellite and cable outlets will see their monthly packages rise by $1 to $8 a month depending on the tier.
After lengthy blackouts of CBS and Nexstar stations, plus the impact of price increases, AT&T expects to lose about 300,000 to 350,000 subscribers in the quarter, CFO John Stephens said Wednesday.
The multi-year deal, which covers DirecTV, AT&T TV and U-verse, ends a nearly two-month impasse. Terms were not disclosed.
AT&T has reached a new carriage deal with American Spirit Media, ending a four-month blackout of the broadcaster’s seven stations on both AT&T’s U-verse and DirecTV services. American Spirit is the duopoly partner of Raycom.
Starting next month, AT&T says U-verse TV subscribers will no longer be able to stream live channels and On Demand programs at Uverse.com.
A month-long retrans impasse between AT&T and Dispatch Broadcast Group has been settled. A new three-year renewal has returned Dispatch’s CBS affiliate WBNS Columbus, Ohio, and NBC affiliate WTHR Indianapolis to DirecTV and U-Verse. Terms were not announced. DirecTV also ended its dispute with Denali Media Holdings.
Unable to reach an agreement on a new retransmission consent contract with Raycom, AT&T U-Verse subs in 23 markets found themselves without their local Raycom stations late Wednesday night. Raycom says U-Verse has been harder to deal with since AT&T’s merger with DirecTV two years ago.
Over the last few months, disputes between programmers and distributors have moved to a new level of conflict with allegations that institutionalized racism at large media companies is driving discriminatory business decisions. The latest involves Univision accusing AT&T of refusing to pay the company’s Spanish-language stations retransmission fees on a par with its English-language network counterparts in a new contract with U-Verse.
Univision Communications and AT&T agreed Friday evening to extend the access of the Univision network and stations until 1 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 16. Univision’s other networks will continue to be unavailable. The two companies said they will continue to work to reach agreement on a new contract.
Univision and AT&T agreed late Thursday to extend the access of the Univision network and stations brought back for Wednesday night’s political debate until 1 a.m. ET Saturday. Univision’s other networks will continue to be unavailable. The two companies will continue to work to reach agreement on a new retransmission consent contract.
Wednesday afternoon, Univision requested that AT&T continue to distribute its signal to AT&T’s U-Verse subscribers for 24 hours immediately following the conclusion of Wednesday night’s Washington Post-Univision Democratic Presidential Debate. Univision said it “is hopeful that AT&T will show good faith in the parties’ ongoing [retransmission consent] negotiations by treating Univision’s top-rated Hispanic content on par with its English-language broadcasting counterparts in order for the companies to continue to collaborate in serving the growing U.S. Hispanic community.”
Univision has agreed to temporarily lift its blackout of AT&T U-verse so that the service’s Spanish-language viewers would have access to Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate.