From Business Insider:
AT&T has said CNN isn’t for sale. But in media and Wall Street circles, there’s a widening belief that the telecom giant is so overextended by a recent 5G spectrum auction that it might try to sell part or all of its WarnerMedia unit.
The Dallas-based telecom giant is currently the world’s biggest non-financial borrower, with $159 billion in debt at the end of the third quarter, according to Bloomberg. The telecom giant just committed an estimated $20 billion as part of a spectrum auction, according to Wall Street analysts. The results of the auction are expected next month.
AT&T faces a tremendous amount of pressure to deleverage their balance sheet, raising the specter of it potentially losing its investment grade credit rating, said Craig Moffett, co-founder of boutique research firm MoffettNathanson. “They are loathe to cut the dividend, so in simple terms that means that everything is on the table.”
AT&T has said HBO Max is one of its strategic imperatives, along with wireless and broadband. So there’s widespread speculation in media finance circles that AT&T might be open to selling WarnerMedia’s Turner unit, which encompasses CNN, TBS, and TNT.
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