Private equity company TPG Capital is to become a 30% shareholder in a new video unit being established by AT&T.
The new company, known as DirecTV, will bring together all of AT&T’s pay-TV ventures DirecTV, AT&TV TV and U-verse.
“This agreement aligns with our investment and operational focus on connectivity and content, and the strategic businesses that are key to growing our customer relationships across 5G wireless, fibre and HBO Max,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey.
The deal puts a value on the company of $16.25 billion, but this represents a fraction of what the company was worth just a few years ago. AT&T paid $49 billion to acquire AT&T in July 2015. It went on to spend a total of $150 billion over 6 years on the purchase of DirecTV and later Time Warner, including CNN, HBO and Warner Bros.
Over the same period pay-TV subscriptions have fallen from 26 million to 17 million. However, from a low in 2019, there has been straight subscriber growth over the last five quarters.
AT&T has brought in industry veteran Bill Morrow to manage the new unit; Morrow is the former CEO of Vodafone Hutchison Australia, CEO of Clearwire Corporation in Seattle, CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in San Francisco, CEO of Vodafone Europe, and President of Vodafone KK in Japan.
Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction will close in the second half of 2021.