Following on from speculation earlier this week that AT&T was in discussions about a deal of some sort with various private equity firms, including Apollo Management, Bloomberg has reported that Churchill Capital Corp. IV, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) run by former Citigroup banker Michael Klein, is also interested in snapping up a stake in the satellite TV business.
Churchill Capital Corp. IV, according to "people with knowledge of the matter," is apparently working with advisors on a potential bid.
The SPAC is flushed from an IPO in July, which raised over $2 billion, even though investors have no knowledge where it will allocate those funds – hence the "blank check" moniker.
Klein is no stranger to SPACs. Three of his blank-check companies have announced mergers in the past two years.
The potential and seemingly complicated deal with Apollo Management (and maybe others), which surfaced earlier this week, envisaged selling a "significant minority stake" in DirecTV as part of a broader sell-off of AT&T's entire pay-TV business.
As with discussions involving the SPAC, according to unnamed sources, any deal is likely to see DirecTV valued at around $15 billion, which is significantly less than the near-$50 billion AT&T stumped for it in 2015 (or more than $67 billion when including the company's debt).
According to CNBC, however, the much lower valuation does not include DirecTV's Latin American business.
In Q3, AT&T shed another 627,000 video connections, including 590,000 "premium" losses (a mix of DirecTV satellite and U-verse IPTV customers) and 37,000 OTT-TV subscribers.
- AT&T mulls selling big stake of its entire pay-TV biz – report
- AT&T sheds 627K pay-TV subs as HBO Max activations double in Q3
- Top OTT platforms bottlenecking the streaming market – AT&T CEO
- AT&T fielding 'lowball bids' for DirecTV – report
- AT&T sizes up its pay-TV legacy
— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading