- AT&T is again considering a spin-off of its DirecTV satellite TV business, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
- The company paid $49 billion for the unit in 2015.
- According to the report, DirecTV could now be valued as low as $20 billion.
- A deal could also leave AT&T with a stake in the satellite TV business, the Journal reported.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
AT&T is considering a sale of DirecTV as it seeks to make up for losses incurred at the hands of cord-cutters ditching traditional cable and satellite, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Unnamed sources familiar with the matter told the paper that potential bidders for the business include hedge funds Apollo Global Management and Platinum Equity. The unit could be worth $20 billion, they said, or less than half the $49 billion AT&T paid for it in 2015, according to the report.
The report notes a deal is not certain, and could see AT&T retain a stake in the satellite TV business.
As recently as 2019, AT&T was considering a move to part with DirecTV, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. Activist investor Elliott Management, which bought up a significant chunk of the company last year in its push for change, also urged a sale at the time.
Asked by analysts in July about AT&T's continued ownership of DirecTV, CEO John Stankey said it was about maintaining relationships with customers who could be enticed to buy other services.
"We like the customer base," he said of DirecTV on a conference call. "It was an opportunity to move that customer base into the right technology platforms moving forward, and that's clearly where we're investing and what we're doing right now, which is building those software platforms that can deliver either live or on-demand entertainment-based content and have that relationship with the customer, use the data and the analytics we pull from that and, hopefully, bridge off other services that those platforms can ultimately deliver."
Shares of AT&T have sunk 23% this year, trailing the overall market. Shares of competitor Dish Network spiked in late trading Friday following the report.
Read the Wall Street Journal report here.
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