AT&T selling LatAm DirecTV unit
July 22, 2021
By Chris Forrester
AT&T has told investors on that it would be selling its Latin American DirecTV unit, Vrio Corp, to Argentina-based investment company Grupo Werthein. The deal involves an impairment charge of $4.6 billion (€3.9bn).
AT&T did not reveal the amount it would receive from Werthein. The purchase is likely to close early in 2022. Grupo Werthein is a private holding company that has been doing business in Latin America and internationally for more than 100 years and has extensive experience in telecommunications, finance, insurance, agribusiness and real estate.
AT&T is widely seen as to unwind its debt and lighten its balance sheet. However, AT&T’s 41.3 per cent stake in Sky Mexico is not part of the Werthein deal.
Grupo Werthein has agreed to acquire, subject to customary closing conditions, 100 per cent of the equity in Vrio, a leading digital entertainment services company with 10.3 million subscribers across 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Vrio provides live and on-demand video services via DirecTV Latin America, SKY Brasil and DirecTV GO. Vrio’s entertainment includes world-class sporting events, international content and exclusive programming. Vrio offers services in Brazil through the SKY brand and in Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Colombia, Curacao, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay through the DirecTV brand. DirecTV GO is an OTT subscription service that offers online access to a variety of live and on-demand programming in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.
“Our vision of the future is to maximize these leading entertainment brands in Latin America, maintaining their leadership and increasing their value proposition by investing in technology and content aligned with the viewing habits of each one of the subscribers, including the next generation of consumers,” said Dario Werthein, shareholder, Grupo Werthein.
Vrio’s infrastructure includes satellites and state-of-the-art broadcast centers that carry 4K video formats. Vrio’s broadband operations, along with other investments, including Torneos y Competencias in Argentina and WIN Sports in Colombia, will transfer to Grupo Werthein at close.