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AT&T Inc. (T)

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  • Fri, Jul. 24, 4:00 PM
    • With official FCC approval in hand, AT&T (T +1.1%) has closed its deal for DirecTV (DTV +1.3%), making it the country's largest pay TV provider with more than 26M total subscribers.
    • Comcast has nearly 23M subscribers in the U.S. AT&T also now boasts more than 19M TV customers in Latin America.
    • DirecTV shareholders received 1.892 shares of AT&T common stock and $28.50 in cash per DirecTV share owned.
    • Current DirecTV customers won't see any difference, AT&T says, as integration happens over the coming months. It plans to roll out new promotions for bundled services in the coming weeks.
    • The company's named John Stankey its CEO of AT&T Entertainment & Internet Services, leading the combined Home Solutions operations, as DirecTV Chairman and CEO Mike White will retire.
    • FCC-mandated conditions include offering fiber-to-the-premises to 12.5M locations within four years; offering gigabit service to any school or library in the all-fiber footprint; offering low-income discounts in the wireline footprint; no favorable treatment for video under data caps; submitting interconnection deals to the FCC.
    • AT&T now expects by year's end its revenue streams will be (from highest to lowest): Business Solutions (both wireless and wireline); Entertainment & Internet; Consumer Mobility; and International Mobility and Video.
    | 33 Comments
  • Fri, Jul. 24, 2:34 PM
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  • Thu, Jul. 23, 9:13 PM
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  • Tue, Jul. 21, 6:50 PM
    • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler confirms that an order has been circulated to agency commissioners recommending approval of AT&T's $49B purchase of DirecTV, with conditions.
    • If approved by the FCC, "2.5 million customer locations will have access to a competitive high-speed fiber connection," Wheeler writes. "This additional build-out is about 10 times the size of AT&T’s current fiber-to-the-premise deployment, increases the entire nation’s residential fiber build by more than 40 percent, and more than triples the number of metropolitan areas AT&T has announced plans to serve."
    • Two other key points: AT&T won't be able to exclude its affiliate video services from broadband data caps (which would give its own products a toll-free leg up), and will have to submit all completed interconnection agreements to the FCC, along with network performance reports.
    • Updated 7:05 p.m.: "We are pleased the Department of Justice has completed its review of our acquisition of DirecTV," says AT&T in its statement. "We look forward to gaining the approval of the Federal Communications Commission so we can quickly begin providing consumers with the benefits of this combination."
    • After hours: DTV +1.1%; T +0.1%.
    • Previously: WSJ: FCC ready to OK $49B AT&T/DirecTV deal (Jul. 21 2015)
    | 17 Comments
  • Tue, Jul. 21, 4:53 PM
    • The FCC is ready to approve AT&T's (NYSE:T) $49B deal for DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
    • Agency Chairman Tom Wheeler is about to circulate the order for approval to the other commissioners, sources told the WSJ.
    • Approval would bring an end to a year-plus long process and set up the biggest media acquisition of the past year. The FCC's OK is the last hurdle, as the Justice Department has already cleared the deal.
    • Still unknown is what conditions AT&T may have agreed to; various sources have AT&T agreeing to various net neutrality rules regardless of pending litigation over the regulations.
    • In after-hours trade, AT&T is currently -0.3%; DTV +0.3%.
    | 19 Comments
  • Tue, Jul. 7, 8:20 PM
    • As a sweetener for approval of its takeover of DirecTV (DTV +0.3%), AT&T (T +0.5%) has agreed to offer a low-priced Internet option for four years to food stamp recipients -- an alternative that the FCC showed a desire for in a letter to the company last week.
    • Users would get up to 5 Mbps for $10/month for the first year, or in slower-speed areas, 1.5 Mbps for $5/month. The costs would go up to $20 and $10 respectively after the year is up. But the customers must not only be on food stamps -- they cannot be current or recent AT&T wireline broadband customers, or be in collection action with AT&T.
    • The telco is eagerly awaiting the result of a regulatory review that has been going on for months.
    • Previously: AT&T gains as analysts get bullish on DirecTV strategy (Jul. 02 2015)
    • Previously: AT&T-DirecTV merger approval expected next week (Jul. 01 2015)
    | 18 Comments
  • Thu, Jul. 2, 12:54 PM
    • AT&T (NYSE:T) is up 0.6% following Cowen and Company's upgrade to Outperform, pointing to the firm's "non-consensus view" that the DirecTV (DTV +0.2%) purchase will be as important strategically as it is financially.
    • Colby Synesael raised Cowen's price target for AT&T to $40 from $35. Shares are trading at $35.77.
    • Cost synergies of $2.5B are reflected in Cowen's DTV model, Synesael says: Some $1B will come from content costs, but the other $1.5B are from more traditional areas and should occur more quickly.
    • Meanwhile, the key advantage is strategic in how AT&T might pursue a "truly TV Everywhere experience" that would rely on "bundling its in-home video solution (U-Verse or DTV) with its mobile platform and leveraging the lower content costs that its combined scale affords. As part of this effort we expect AT&T to push hard to convert subs of DTV to AT&T Wireless (and vice versa) which we’d argue could become a meaningful source of revenue synergies."
    • Buckingham Research also initiated coverage of AT&T today at Buy, with a $41 price target.
    | 20 Comments
  • Wed, Jul. 1, 2:19 AM
    • AT&T's (NYSE:T) proposed $48.5B acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) is expected to get U.S. regulatory approval as soon as next week, sources told Reuters.
    • The Department of Justice, which assesses whether deals violate antitrust law, has completed its review of the merger and is waiting on the FCC to wrap up its own.
    • The move would create the country's largest pay-TV company, giving DirecTV a broadband product and AT&T new avenues of growth beyond wireless service.
    • Previously: AT&T, DirecTV extend merger end date to get regulator OK (Jun. 29 2015)
    | 12 Comments
  • Mon, Jun. 29, 6:54 PM
    • With approval of a deal seeming to drag, AT&T (T -1%) has extended the end date for its merger with DirecTV (DTV -0.9%) again, for a "short period of time" to facilitate regulatory approval.
    • In its 8-K filing, the company says it "expects that the merger will be consummated shortly."
    • It's the second extension in two months; the two extended their end date on May 15 as well.
    • Previously: AT&T, DirecTV extend termination date for merger a bit longer (May. 15 2015)
    | 11 Comments
  • Fri, Jun. 12, 12:06 PM
    • While a federal court sided with the FCC yesterday -- and thus against AT&T (NYSE:T), in its litigation against net neutrality regulations -- is it really a silver lining for the big telecom?
    • Analysts say with tough new rules taking effect today, the FCC has less reason to set tougher conditions on AT&T's proposed deal to acquire DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV).
    • "Now that the net neutrality rules are set to go into effect today for all carriers, there probably isn't as much pressure for the FCC to attempt to single AT&T out or get AT&T to proactively agree to abide by stricter net neutrality rules," says Elevation's Stephen Sweeney, "so this may simplify the ongoing remedy/concessions negotiations that are ongoing with the regulators at the moment."
    • Earlier this month, sources pointed to an AT&T ready to make concessions, including agreement to strict guidelines on net neutrality, in order to get the deal done.
    • "The ruling (may be) a positive for AT&T-DirecTV because the FCC probably will face less pressure from public interest groups to apply the full net neutrality rules to AT&T as a merger condition (which might have been the case if the court had blocked the FCC's Title II ruling)," says Guggenheim's Paul Gallant.
    • Previously: AT&T, Cogent enter new interconnection pact (Jun. 10 2015)
    • Previously: Report: AT&T to agree to concessions for DirecTV deal (Jun. 02 2015)
    • Previously: AT&T/DirecTV deal review still paused at FCC (May. 28 2015)
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  • Mon, Jun. 8, 5:19 PM
    • In the latest (but not the last) contract dispute over TV programming, AT&T (NYSE:T) has a contract expiration coming June 30 for CBS and its cable channels, including Showtime -- and CBS seems to be expecting its channels to go dark on the U-verse service.
    • CBS is showing frustration with AT&T's slow progress, The Wall Street Journal reports, and is concerned that it's a precursor to a U-verse shutdown by AT&T, which is hoping to close its acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) also by the end of June.
    • If CBS stations go dark, 2.5M subscribers (many more in Showtime's case) would lose the programming, primarily in Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago.
    • AT&T has suggested that it had no plans to shut down U-verse just because of acquiring DirecTV, but if the merger closes before the U-verse contract is renewed, the DirecTV team might take over negotiations -- and that with the advantage of seeing a one-time rival's contract with the broadcaster.
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  • Mon, Jun. 8, 12:32 PM
    • Vodafone (VOD +0.6%) has gained as much as 12.5% after John Malone's May 19 comment about how the company would be a "great fit" with his Liberty Global, but some sober thought about regulatory risk for any deal has meant it coming a bit closer to earth, down 5.6% from the 52-week high.
    • Vodafone clarified that the companies were talking about an asset swap and talk now turns to whether Vodafone's board might consider a breakup of the firm in order to ease a deal -- in which case AT&T (NYSE:T) could re-emerge as a buyer, using cash flow from an acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV).
    • Vodafone is already considering an IPO of its India business, and the other emerging market operations may need to be split off as well. But CEO Vittorio Colao has been opposed to splitting the firm.
    • Oppenheimer speculated earlier this year that AT&T could acquire Vodafone and move its HQ out of the U.S. for tax savings, though the Obama administration planned to fight such strategies.
    • Meanwhile, Bank of America has upgraded Vodafone to Neutral from its previous Underperform, and raised its price target to $38 from $35. Shares are trading today at $37.27.
    • Previously: Vodafone -2.2% after dampening Liberty merger talk (Jun. 05 2015)
    • Previously: Vodafone up as Goldman says it may be an asset seller (May. 22 2015)
    | 7 Comments
  • Tue, Jun. 2, 6:46 PM
    • Mogul John Malone floated an interesting idea today: Forget Sprint and T-Mobile -- the wireless industry could get its third major alternative to Verizon and AT&T (NYSE:T) with the merger of Charter Communications (CHTR -1.6%) and Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.9%).
    • Malone was speaking at his various Liberty companies' annual meetings and noted that in 2012, the cable consortium SpectrumCo got an option to participate in a wireless MVNO service with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) after the wireless firm bought $3.9B in frequencies.
    • Charter wasn't in SpectrumCo then, but merger partners TWC and Bright House are. “The concept that Comcast, a greatly enlarged Charter and Cox could together offer a WiFi-optimized connectivity service with a default to a Verizon MVNO is an interesting concept," Malone said.
    • He thinks "there's very little dirty underwear" left to be found in a regulatory review of Charter-TWC after the past year's scrutiny.
    • Also of interest regarding Charter capex and the dividend: “Everybody's going to say, ‘Oh he’s spending too much capital,’ but I think the end result with be worth it ... To a large degree we’re betting on Tom Rutledge and his team to wake up a sleepy cable company that was treading water in all honesty for a while and trying to satisfy shareholder pressures with buybacks and dividends as opposed to putting the money into having a competitive service offering.”
    • Malone company shares today: LMCA -0.1%; LMCB flat; LMCK flat; LTRPA -0.9%; LTRPB +2.2%; QVCA +0.8%; LBRDA +0.1%; OTCQB:LBRDB flat; LBRDK -0.1%.
    | 10 Comments
  • Tue, Jun. 2, 12:13 PM
    • With a federal review now in its endgame, AT&T (T +0.4%) is ready to make concessions in order to seal its $49B deal for DirecTV (DTV +0.2%), The Washington Post reports.
    • Speculation has centered on whether AT&T would embrace the FCC's new net neutrality rules regardless of the outcome of its pending litigation -- and the company appears ready to do so in several areas to get the deal done.
    • Along with offering stand-alone broadband plans that might encourage cord-cutting, AT&T would honor a ban on blocking and throttling (slowing down) sites, as well as agree to refrain from "paid prioritization" -- where companies pay Internet providers to get into a "fast lane."
    • Several details are unclear, though, including how long AT&T would need to abide by the commitments (earlier reports suggested several years), or what its broadband-only plans would have to look like in speed and price (opponents want 25 MBps for $30/month; AT&T's countered with 6 MBps for $35/month).
    • Also still a thorny issue: interconnection fees that have seen content firms wrestling with carriers over who's paying for heavy traffic from the likes of Netflix.
    • Previously: AT&T/DirecTV deal review still paused at FCC (May. 28 2015)
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  • Thu, May 28, 7:47 PM
    • The "shot clock" on the FCC's review of AT&T's (NYSE:T) purchase offer for DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) -- the 180-day period where the agency vets the deal -- is still in pause, even though deal reviews will be starting to pile up behind it (Charter-TWC, Avago/Broadcom).
    • The FCC paused the clock in mid-March with just 10 days left, and while it's an informal deadline, it can be used to get more documents for review.
    • That pause was due to a court case on third-party programming contracts, and that was decided weeks ago.
    • AT&T, for its part, is submitting more documents in hopes of getting the review moving again.
    | 6 Comments
  • Mon, May 18, 10:22 AM
    • After a pause, AT&T (T +0.4%) looks ready to move forward with new investment on the expectation that new net neutrality rules will get changed either by the courts (AT&T is party to action in federal court) or Congress.
    • CEO Randall Stephenson had suggested that the company pause a plan to spend billions while they awaited the final rules from the FCC on how the industry would be regulated.
    • Now: "So we've said we're going to invest around $18 billion this year. That will allow us to deploy a wireless broadband solution to 13 million homes around the U.S.," he said on CNBC. "That compares to about $22 billion last year."
    • AT&T extended its deadline for acquiring DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) as it expects to close the deal in Q2 and many observers think the acquisition will be done at least by July.
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Company Description
AT&T Inc, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, provides wireless and wireline telecommunications services in the United States and internationally. The Company has three reportable segments: Wireless, Wireline, and Other.