April 18, 2018 / 11:06 PM / 2 years ago

At last minute, AT&T withdraws planned IPO of its Vrio Corp unit

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc has withdrawn its planned initial public offering of Vrio Corp, its DirecTV business in Latin America, just hours before the new stock was to start trading.

AT&T said in a statement on Wednesday that the decision to withdraw Vrio’s IPO was made based on current market conditions, but did not elaborate.

Earlier on Wednesday, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that the initial public offering had been postponed.

The company’s stock was originally scheduled to debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “VRIO” on Thursday.

Bookrunners Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley had downsized the television service provider’s IPO to 15 million Class A shares from 29.7 million Class A shares, following significant investor pushback.

The IPO’s indicated price range was also lowered to $16 to $17 each from the prior $19 to $22 per share on Wednesday.

Cable television service providers have been facing tough competition as the industry battles with customers cancelling accounts and moving to video streaming services such as Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc’s Amazon Prime.

AT&T’s initial plan was to sell Vrio to pay down debt which will increase to about $180 billion once its acquisition of Time Warner Inc closes.

AT&T in February filed confidentially for an IPO for the unit, which includes satellite and cable television services in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, among others, prompting analysts to say that the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier probably was not able to find a buyer.

Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Clive McKeef and Lisa Shumaker

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