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Is AT&T Nearing Brazil's Approval for Time Warner Merger?

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According to a report by Globo, the Brazilian antitrust agency, CADE, is likely to approve AT&T Inc.’s (T - Free Report) proposed acquisition of Time Warner Inc. (TWX - Free Report) . Beside the home country United States, Brazil is the other one, which is yet to give regulatory nod to this deal.

Earlier, CADE had argued that the approval of the deal would violate the agency’s stated policy of separation of service providers and content developers. For that, CADE wants AT&T to disinvest its pay-TV assets in that country. Last week, Reuters reported that AT&T is exploring a strategic option to sell a major part of its pay-TV operations in Latin America. The company acquired these assets as part of its $49 billion takeover of the satellite TV operator DIRECTV.

At present, AT&T holds 93% Sky Brasil along with PanAmericana satellite and cable TV services. The company has 13.6 billion subscribers across Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Uruguay. Notably, Brazil solely commands 5.52 million customers. In the second quarter of 2017, Latin American business generated $1.4 billion in revenues, half of which came from Sky Brasil.

Notably, Sky Brazil currently holds about 29% of the pay-TV market in Brazil, followed by cable TV operator Net Servicos de Comunicacao. As per Reuters, AT&T is hopeful about collecting approximately $8 billion for the divestiture of Latin American pay-TV assets. Liberty Global plc. (LBTYA - Free Report) , Telefonica SA (TEF - Free Report) and Millicom are possible buyers.

We believe that there exist two reasons for AT&T to mull over Latin American pay-TV business sales. First, the company has decided to acquire U.S. media behemoth Time Warner for about $85.4 billion. If the deal materializes, the company’s outstanding debt will cross an enormous $180 billion.

Management is pursuing a number of other options to raise funds and pay down debt for the acquisition. The company is expecting to raise around $22.5 billion through a seven-tier bond offering. It has decided to sell Digital Life home security business for around $1 billion.

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