AT&T Inc. is close to a deal to sell a substantial stake in DirecTV to private equity firm TPG, according to reports Tuesday. CNBC and Bloomberg News reported that a deal could be announced this week or next, valuing DirecTV’s business, which includes U-Verse and AT&T TV Now, at around $ 15 billion. That’s just a fraction of the $ 49 billion AT&T paid for DirecTV in 2015.
AT&T booked a $ 15.5 billion write-off on its shaky pay-TV business in January. When it reported fourth-quarter earnings last month, AT&T revealed that it had lost about 3 million subscribers last year on its DirecTV and U-verse platforms, prompting speculation that it would seek to sell the unit. AT&T CEO John Stankey has reportedly been looking to cut low-yielding assets to pay off debt, which totals about $ 150 billion. AT&T T shares, -0.48%, are down approximately 22% in the past 12 months, compared to a 24% gain for the S&P 500 SPX, + 0.13% at that time.