Home / Tech News / AT&T, facing $158 billion debt, to sell Puerto Rico network for $2 billion

AT&T, facing $158 billion debt, to sell Puerto Rico network for $2 billion

An AT&T sign on the outside of a building.
Amplify / An AT&T signal outdoor an organization workplace in New York Town.

AT&T has agreed to promote its wi-fi and wireline networks in Puerto Rico and america Virgin Islands for $1.95 billion to Liberty Latin The united states. The deal will assist AT&T pay a small portion of the debt load created partially by way of its acquisitions of DirecTV and Time Warner Inc.

AT&T introduced the deal lately, pronouncing that the transaction calls for assessment by way of the Federal Communications Fee and Division of Justice. AT&T hopes to finish the sale inside of six to 9 months. “This transaction is a results of our ongoing strategic assessment of our stability sheet and belongings to spot alternatives for monetization,” AT&T CFO John Stephens mentioned.

AT&T has mentioned it intends to chop its debt by way of as much as $20 billion in 2019. The corporate already diminished its long-term debt from $166 billion as of December 31, 2018 to $158 billion on June 30, 2019. AT&T instructed traders lately to be expecting percentage buybacks later this 12 months as the corporate continues bettering its debt-to-earnings ratio. AT&T mentioned it’s on course to hit its function of a internet debt-to-adjusted EBITDA ratio within the 2.5X vary by way of 12 months finish, down from its present 2.7X. AT&T’s adjusted EBITDA used to be $29.eight billion for the primary six months of 2019, a tempo of just about $60 billion for the 12 months.

AT&T in the past “bought its stake in streaming carrier Hulu for $1.43 billion and WarnerMedia’s Big apple workplaces at Hudson Yards for approximately $2.2 billion,” a Reuters tale mentioned.

For Liberty, purchasing AT&T’s community in Puerto Rico and america Virgin Islands will assist it dominate the communications business at the islands. The deal will give Liberty a client cellular community and a fiber backhaul industry.

“Liberty is already the largest pay-TV and broadband supplier at the island [of Puerto Rico],” the Wall Boulevard Magazine wrote lately. “Cable multi-millionaire John Malone, who holds a 25.five% balloting stake in Liberty Latin The united states, and Liberty Latin The united states CEO Balan Nair have instructed traders they wish to enlarge within the area thru disciplined mergers and acquisitions.”

The sale from AT&T to Liberty comprises “spectrum; actual property and rentals; consumers, together with 1.1 million wi-fi subscribers; and contracts,” AT&T mentioned.

AT&T has operated in Puerto Rico since 2009, when it purchased Centennial Communications Corp. for just about $1 billion. AT&T mentioned the sale would possibly not impact the improvement of FirstNet, a US-wide public-safety community it’s development beneath a freelance with america govt.

AT&T mentioned:

Amongst different products and services, post-close Liberty Latin The united states will fortify AT&T’s FirstNet construct in Puerto Rico and america Virgin Islands, increasing LTE protection and capability to absolute best meet the wishes of first responders within the area. Eligible first responders subscribing to AT&T’s FirstNet products and services in Puerto Rico and america Virgin Islands will nonetheless have get admission to to the advantages and features of the FirstNet community platform, together with precedence and preemption.

Cellular consumers transferred from AT&T to Liberty “will proceed to have the benefit of loose roaming products and services between Puerto Rico, america Virgin Islands, and the mainland United States, Mexico and Canada,” Liberty mentioned.

AT&T mentioned it is going to additionally proceed working DirecTV at the islands.

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