AT&T Inc.
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  • Jul. 2, 2015, 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.
    | Jul. 2, 2015, 12:54 PM | 20 Comments
  • Jul. 1, 2015, 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)
    | Jul. 1, 2015, 2:19 AM | 12 Comments
  • Jun. 29, 2015, 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)
    | Jun. 29, 2015, 6:54 PM | 11 Comments
  • Jun. 12, 2015, 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)
    | Jun. 12, 2015, 12:06 PM | 7 Comments
  • Jun. 8, 2015, 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.
    | Jun. 8, 2015, 5:19 PM | 8 Comments
  • Jun. 8, 2015, 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)
    | Jun. 8, 2015, 12:32 PM | 7 Comments
  • Jun. 2, 2015, 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%.
    | Jun. 2, 2015, 6:46 PM | 10 Comments
  • Jun. 2, 2015, 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)
    | Jun. 2, 2015, 12:13 PM | 5 Comments
  • May 28, 2015, 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.
    | May 28, 2015, 7:47 PM | 6 Comments
  • May 18, 2015, 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.
    | May 18, 2015, 10:22 AM | 2 Comments
  • May 15, 2015, 6:44 PM
    | May 15, 2015, 6:44 PM | 14 Comments
  • May 13, 2015, 6:50 PM
    • Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and Cogent Communications (NASDAQ:CCOI), along with other advocacy groups, have spelled out the conditions they'd like to see for a successful AT&T (NYSE:T) purchase of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV).
    • Opponents to the deal met with FCC staffers last week; AT&T is expected to meet with deal reviewers in the coming days, and hopes to close the deal by the end of June.
    • Dish, Cogent and other critics asked that AT&T promise to sell Internet as a standalone service outside of its bundles at a reasonable price, and they asked the FCC to make AT&T comply with stricter net neutrality provisions for seven years, regardless of how AT&T's suit against the rules comes out.
    • Also requested: that AT&T include all video in any data caps, and restrictions on how AT&T handles interconnect traffic -- which particularly affects Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Dish's new Sling TV streaming service, key competition for DirecTV service.
    • Previously: Cogent joins Netflix in demanding conditions for AT&T/DirecTV combo (May. 05 2015)
    • Previously: Netflix to FCC: Reject AT&T/DirecTV merger (May. 05 2015)
    | May 13, 2015, 6:50 PM | 9 Comments
  • May 5, 2015, 11:47 PM
    • Cogent Communications (NASDAQ:CCOI) joined Netflix today in calling for conditions on the proposed merger of AT&T (NYSE:T) and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV).
    • Data carriers like Cogent (along with firms like Netflix) are focused on interchange issues, the fees that a broadband behemoth could collect for accepting Internet traffic -- and their opposition, or the nature of it, could be good news for the deal, says industry analyst Craig Moffett.
    • The reason? The companies could be kingmakers by urging concessions, he says: They helped sink the Comcast-TWC deal, and now with AT&T/DirecTV, “two of the most ardent opponents are tacitly blessing the idea of the merger as long as there are appropriate conditions.”
    • The two say that a combined AT&T/DirecTV with no restrictions will have a bigger incentive to stymie streaming entertainment.
    | May 5, 2015, 11:47 PM | 1 Comment
  • Apr. 30, 2015, 5:31 PM
    • AT&T (NYSE:T) has wrapped its acquisition of Nextel Mexico from NII Holdings for $1.875B (less some $427M of adjustments including net debt).
    • Following its integration of Iusacell earlier this year, the company says it plans to create "the first-ever North American Mobile Service area, which will cover more than 400 million consumers and businesses in Mexico and the United States."
    • AT&T credited quick action by Mexico's post-reform telecom regulator in getting the deals through smoothly.
    • Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Mexico and Iusacell, will be in charge of the combination.
    • Previously: AT&T adds more unlimited calling to Mexico (Feb. 17 2015)
    • Previously: AT&T closes Iusacell deal, puts tech exec in charge (Jan. 16 2015)
    | Apr. 30, 2015, 5:31 PM | 21 Comments
  • Apr. 24, 2015, 7:30 PM
    | Apr. 24, 2015, 7:30 PM | 8 Comments
  • Apr. 23, 2015, 6:24 PM
    • AT&T (T +4.2%) peddled $17.5B in bonds in the third-biggest debt offering on record, as it draws funds to help pay for its acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) -- a media deal that looks to be a survivor as other mergers fall apart.
    • The sale's part of a record year in debt sales; it's the third-biggest ever but only the second-largest this year, as Actavis sold $21B in March.
    • Yield-hungry investors put in $68B in orders, nearly four times the offer. A 10-year bond was priced to yield 3.435%; a 31-year bond at 4.772%.
    • The company may be getting ahead of the rush. More debt deals are likely to come ahead of any move by the Fed to raise rates, and they're likely to find investors so long as there are negative yields still in the market.
    • AT&T will redeem some bonds at a premium if the DTV deal's not done by Nov. 30, though it still exepcts a Q2 closing.
    • Previously: AT&T call: On reducing churn, and post-acquisition deleveraging (Apr. 22 2015)
    | Apr. 23, 2015, 6:24 PM | 23 Comments
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.