AT&T has received bids for its DirecTV broadcast satellite service of more than $15 billion including buying its debt, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
According to the sources, former banker Michael Klein’s acquisition company Churchill Capital Corp. and private equity firm TPG are among the top bidders.
Apollo Global Management, which had previously been seen as a frontrunner in the auction to buy the service, submitted a bid of less than $15 billion, the Journal reported.
The news outlet added that the sale negotiations are in late stages, with a final deal expected by early next year.
AT&T declined to comment on the reported bids when contacted by The Hill.
This comes after the Journal reported in August that AT&T and its advisers at Goldman Sachs had begun talks with private-equity companies to purchase DirecTV following economic hardship with the loss of millions of subscribers to streaming services like Netflix.
AT&T purchased DirecTV in 2015 for roughly $49 billion, or $66 billion including debt.
In the past two years, the company has lost 7 million U.S. video connections, far surpassing declines at companies like Comcast and Dish Network, according to the Journal.
The Journal reported that so far this year, AT&T’s stock is down about 20 percent, and has barely moved over the past five years.
Chief Executive John Stankey said at a UBS Group AG investor conference Tuesday that he is willing to cut out any business that draws attention away from the Dallas-based company’s core wireless, broadband and streaming-video units.
“We still have opportunities to do some things around rejiggering our portfolio,” he said, according to the Journal. “We’ll continue to force ourselves to look at those hard decisions.”
AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV made it the largest U.S.-pay television provider, although this title eventually went to Comcast.
In 2018, AT&T purchased Time Warner for more than $80 billion, bringing HBO, the Warner Bros. film studio and cable channels like CNN under the company’s control.