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AT&T To Sell Puerto Rico Business As It Looks To Pay Down Debt

According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T has agreed to sell its Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Islands businesses to Liberty Latin America for $1.95 billion in cash (Warning: source paywalled, alternative source), “allowing the telecommunications giant to shave its debt load and move closer to repurchasing shares.” From the report: AT&T’s operation in Puerto Rico provides cellular, landline and internet connections. It had 1.1 million wireless subscribers. As part of the deal, about 1,300 AT&T employees will be transferred to Liberty Latin America. The two companies said they expect the deal to close within six to nine months. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands account for a small sliver of AT&T’s domestic operations, but shedding the unit will help it work down a large debt load accumulated through its $80 billion-plus acquisition of Time Warner last year. The deal signals progress on AT&T’s goal of selling noncore assets, something activist investor Elliott Management Corp., which recently disclosed a stake in the company, is also pushing. AT&T has also sold its stake in streaming service Hulu.

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