The company’s announcement Wednesday that it was suspending the IPO came a day before the new stock was scheduled to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “VRIO.” Last week AT&T said in a filing that it expected the Vrio IPO to raise up to around $650 million.
“AT&T Inc. has decided to withdraw its planned initial public offering of shares of Vrio Corp.,” the telco said in a brief statement Wednesday. “The company made this decision based on current market conditions.”
Separately, AT&T and Time Warner are battling the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit that seeks to block the takeover of Time Warner, in a trial that began March 19. On Wednesday, Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes testified, calling the government’s objections to the deal “ridiculous.”
Last month AT&T filed a registration statement for the potential U.S. initial public offering of Vrio shares, potentially setting up the unit for a spinoff or sale. That would help AT&T pay down debt it would amass to close the $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, which analysts say will push the telco’s debt load to more than $180 billion. Under the planned IPO, AT&T would have retained 98% voting control of Vrio and 83%-85% of the economic interest in the unit.
As of the end of 2017, DirecTV Latin America had about 13.6 million subscribers in South America and the Caribbean — up 9.3% year-over-year. For full-year 2017, DirecTV Latin America had revenue of $5.57 billion, up 10.9% from the year prior, and net income of $222 million (versus a net loss of $356 million for the 2016).
Vrio’s businesses operate in eight South American countries and three Caribbean countries: Brazil, under the Sky brand; and, under the DirecTV brand, in Barbados, Colombia, Curaçao, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay.