Vrio, a holding company that houses AT&T's DirecTV Latin America assets, filed an S-1 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to spin off a minority interest in the unit to the public, a move that could raise as much as $100 million.
AT&T had been hinting about a spin-off of the Latin American unit for months – earlier this month it said it was exploring its options concerning an initial public offering. The move is expected to help AT&T pay off some of the debt associated with its pending $108.7 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc.
Vrio, which AT&T formed in October 2017 specifically to hold its DirecTV Latin American interests, is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “VRIO.” The number of shares that will be issued and the timing of the IPO hasn’t yet been determined.
AT&T is currently gearing up for a legal battle with the U.S. Department of Justice over the Time Warner purchase. If the deal gets approved – the Justice Department has already moved to block the deal, and a trial is scheduled to start March 19 on the matter – AT&T’s debt load would balloon to about $180 billion.
AT&T’s entertainment business in Latin America mainly consists of its DirecTV Latin America satellite TV service. DirecTV Latin America has about 13.6 million subscribers and includes a 93% interest in Sky Brasil, the largest satellite company in the strongest economy in the region and Pan Americana, which includes operations in Chile, Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. AT&T has toyed with the idea of selling the unit in the past. A Reuters report last year said it was exploring a sale of the assets, which were valued at the time at about $8 billion.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC will act as the joint book-running managers for the IPO.