AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) announced the sale of its wireless and wireline operations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to Liberty Latin America for $1.95 billion in cash. The deal is subject to review by the FCC and the Department of Justice, and is expected to close within 6-9 months.
At close, approx. 1,300 AT&T employees will move to Liberty Latin America. AT&T will provide transition support functions to Liberty Latin America after the transaction closes in order to enable a smooth transition for customers.
AT&T will retain its FirstNet network core and service capabilities and following the close of the merger, Liberty Latin America will support AT&T’s FirstNet expansion in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
John Stephens, CFO said, “This transaction is a result of our ongoing strategic review of our balance sheet and assets to identify opportunities for monetization.”
AT&T has been trying to reduce its massive debt load after the acquisition of Time Warner. The company has raised $10 billion year to date from asset sales and working capital initiatives. This is ahead of the target of $6 billion to $8 billion it had set for the year.
The company plans to buy back shares in the fourth quarter of 2019 while continuing to reduce debt. AT&T aims to reach a net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA ratio in the 2.5x range this year.
AT&T’s shares were up slightly in afternoon trade on Wednesday.