AT&T is continuing to sell non-core assets, this time receiving $1.1 billion in cash for its stake in Central European Media Enterprises (CME).
AT&T was the largest shareholder in CME, which was acquired by Czech investment firm PPF Group N.V. As part of the deal, the companies said AT&T no longer backstops approximately $575 million in debt for CME, which AT&T acquired as part of its 2018 Time Warner deal.
“The sale is consistent with AT&T’s ongoing efforts to monetize non-core assets to drive incremental shareholder value. The company plans to continue to focus on lowering its net debt to strengthen its balance sheet and will remain opportunistic around opportunities to further improve its borrowing costs,” AT&T said in a statement.
AT&T's net debt currently sits at $152.02 billion.
The CME sale goes through as AT&T is reportedly pursuing divestitures of other assets including DirecTV. According to the New York Post, AT&T has received opening bids for DirecTV from several potential suitors and the valuation is less than the reported $20 billion for which the company had hoped. Current bids for the satellite provider are implying a valuation around $15.75 billion, less than a third of what AT&T originally paid for DirecTV. In 2015, AT&T paid $48.5 billion for DirecTV and took on the company’s approximately $18 billion in net debt.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T is in the early stages of a potential sale of Xandr, its advanced advertising business, but warned that the company likely wouldn’t get more than the $1.6 billion it paid for AppNexus, the ad tech firm it acquired to be a key component of Xandr.
AT&T is also reportedly looking to offload Crunchyroll, its streaming video service focused on anime, to Sony for $1.5 billion. According to The Information, Sony has pushed back at AT&T’s asking price, which is a significant amount of money for what would be considered a “niche” streaming service.