AT&T considering sale of Latin American pay TV assets


AT&T is evaluating the potential sale of its pay TV operations in Latin America as it seeks to pay down debt following its planned USD 85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

According to the report, the assets in the region could be valued at more than USD 8 billion. The sources mentioned Liberty Global, Telefonica and Millicom as some of the companies that could express interest in all or parts of the markets.

The American telecommunications company owns 100% of Directv Panamericana, which operates in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and several other countries, and 93% of SKY Brasil. According to Reuters, AT&T is not interested in selling its pay TV business in Mexico, where it owns 41% stake of SKY Mexico, in partnership with Televisa, which holds the remaining 59%.

AT&T expects the Time Warner acquisition to close by the end of the year in the United States. In Latin America, Mexico and Chile have already approved the merger, while in Brazil it is under analysis and regulators believe it poses risks to competition, so the sale of SKY could help to finish the process.

AT&T reported 13.62 million pay TV subscribers in Latin America at the end of the second quarter this year (including 5.5 million of SKY Brasil but excluding Mexico). Effective 1/1/17, DirecTV Latin America changed its methodology for counting prepaid video connections to align with other AT&T prepaid business practices. The company said this change increased the total number of DirecTV Latin America video connections by 1.1 million in 1Q17.