AT&T Inc.
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  • Sep. 25, 2014, 11:14 AM
    • DirecTV (DTV -0.2%) confirms that its shareholders approved the merger of the company with AT&T.
    • The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015 after a myriad of regulatory hurdles are cleared.
    | Sep. 25, 2014, 11:14 AM | 2 Comments
  • Sep. 23, 2014, 1:01 PM
    • Tech news site BSN, not historically a major source for telecom M&A rumors: "Sources close to both Vodafone (VOD +0.3%) and AT&T (T -0.7%) have said that executives from the two companies are laying the groundwork for a possible acquisition, merger or partnership ... AT&T is seen to take ownership of Vodafone and its various business units around the globe by first quarter of 2015."
    • Vodafone has turned positive on the report; shares were previously down over 1%. AT&T/Vodafone rumors are, of course, nothing new. However, the DirecTV deal and AT&T's reported displeasure with Vodafone's wireline expansion efforts have led to a measure of investor skepticism about them.
    • SoftBank has also been rumored to be a potential Vodafone suitor, given the company has abandoned (for now) its efforts to merge Sprint with T-Mobile, and is sitting on an Alibaba stake currently worth a pre-tax $70B.
    | Sep. 23, 2014, 1:01 PM | 11 Comments
  • Sep. 22, 2014, 12:06 PM
    • Otter Media, a JV owned by AT&T (T +0.1%) and ex-News Corp. president Peter Chernin, is buying a controlling stake in leading YouTube content provider Fullscreen. Re/code states the deal will likely value Fullscreen in the $200M-$300M range.
    • Fullscreen's network covers 50K+ content creators, and is responsible for 4B monthly video views. Yahoo and Time Warner had reportedly expressed interested in the startup earlier in 2014.
    • In March, Disney agreed to buy fellow YouTube content provider Maker Studios for up to $950M. With Maker producing 5.5B monthly video views at the time of the deal, AT&T/Chernin may have gotten a relative bargain. Look for AT&T to promote Fullscreen's content to its U-verse and/or mobile subs.
    | Sep. 22, 2014, 12:06 PM
  • Sep. 16, 2014, 5:44 PM
    • A top AT&T (NYSE:T) executive says the company is open to acquisitions in Mexico, where America Movil (NYSE:AMX) has said it would sell off parts of operations to cut its market share to below 50% from 70% to avoid a regulatory crackdown, creating a rare opening for an acquirer to get a foothold in the country.
    • AT&T's attention is focused on closing the $49B deal for DirecTV, but Chief Strategy Officer John Stankey says Mexico is a fast-growing market of interest to the company, and that AT&T has the wherewithal to do other deals if opportunities arise.
    | Sep. 16, 2014, 5:44 PM | 8 Comments
  • Sep. 11, 2014, 2:05 PM
    • The state attorneys general now working with the Justice Department to determine whether Comcast's deal to buy Time Warner Cable is legal have expanded their investigation to include AT&T's (T +0.2%) proposed $48.5B deal to buy DirecTV (DTV +0.1%), Reuters reports.
    • New York and California are part of the multi-state review, according to the report.
    | Sep. 11, 2014, 2:05 PM | 1 Comment
  • Sep. 1, 2014, 1:56 AM
    • America Movil (NYSE:AMX) has hired Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) to sell a significant amount of its wireline/mobile assets, in order to lower its market share by less than 50%.
    • Potential buyers include AT&T (NYSE:T) and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY), a source tells Bloomberg.
    • The move is in response to new Mexican regulation designed to curb the company's dominance. America Movil announced the sale in July.
    | Sep. 1, 2014, 1:56 AM | 1 Comment
  • Aug. 25, 2014, 12:25 PM
    • The NY Post reports AT&T (T +0.1%) has reached an agreement with the DOJ that paves the way for the agency to clear the DirecTV (DTV +0.8%) merger. No details are given on what conditions AT&T has agreed to.
    • Regulators have been expected to sign off on the $48.5B merger, in spite of concerns about its potential impact on pay-TV prices in areas where AT&T and DirecTV currently compete.
    • AT&T has tried to appease regulators by promising (among other things) to continue offering DirecTV's services on a standalone basis for 3 years, and to make big rural broadband investments.
    • In addition to the DOJ, the FCC is reviewing the merger.
    | Aug. 25, 2014, 12:25 PM | 5 Comments
  • Aug. 22, 2014, 10:03 AM
    • Vodafone (VOD +1.3%) is paying €72.7M ($97M) to acquire a 72.7% stake in Greek broadband/phone service provider Hellas Online. The deal will bring Vodafone's total stake above 91%, and is expected to close in Q4.
    • Hellas had 519K customers at the end of 2013, good for an estimated 11% local share. It had 2013 revenue of €227.4M, and EBITDA of €68.4M.
    • The deal follows Vodafone's acquisitions of German cable provider Kabel Deutschland and Spanish cable provider ONO, as the carrier pushes ahead with its goal of offering mobile/wireline bundles (both by itself, and via partnerships) throughout Europe.
    • Separately, The Daily Mail has passed on a rumor that AT&T's (NYSE:T) advisers are now "working around the clock on a cash bid worth more than £3 a share" for Vodafone.
    • The rumor should be taken with a heavy dose of salt, given: 1) AT&T is currently preoccupied with closing the DirecTV acquisition. 2) It implies AT&T would be paying a 46% premium to Vodafone's current London trading price, and valuing the company at ~$130B. 3) AT&T, which has a $179B market cap and $84B in debt, would be very hard-pressed to finance a ~$130B deal solely with cash.
    • A 6-month prohibition on an AT&T bid for Vodafone ended in July. However, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson stated in March "the window may be closing" for his company to acquire European wireless assets, and is reportedly unhappy with Vodafone's wireline expansion efforts.
    | Aug. 22, 2014, 10:03 AM | 4 Comments
  • Jul. 31, 2014, 1:02 PM
    • France's Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) is offering $15B in cash for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile USA (TMUS +7.3%) at a price of $33/share. Iliad values the remaining 43.4% at $40.50/share. Sprint (S -5.3%) has been reported to be planning a ~$40/share deal.
    • Iliad says it has obtained financing from unnamed banks, and would also do a capital raise to help pay for the deal. One issue: Iliad has a current market cap of just $16B, less than T-Mobile's $24.8B and Sprint's $30.6B. Sprint has reportedly lined up a $40B+ debt package to finance a T-Mobile deal.
    • A source tells the WSJ Iliad, which has upended the French mobile market with its aggressive pricing, views a T-Mobile merger as a "one-time opportunity to enter the world's-largest telecoms market."
    • Iliad also thinks (perhaps with good reason, given FCC/DOJ remarks) regulators will be more comfortable with its bid than Sprint's, since Iliad has no U.S. presence.
    • AT&T (T -2%) and Verizon (VZ -2.3%) have joined Sprint in selling off, as investors mull the possibility of a deal that would leave the number of nationwide U.S. carriers at 4. Concerns about Iliad's pricing history might also be weighing on shares.
    • Related tickers: OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCQX:DTEGY
    • Earlier: Iliad reportedly bids for T-Mobile USA
    | Jul. 31, 2014, 1:02 PM | 13 Comments
  • Jul. 29, 2014, 12:14 PM
    • "I’m skeptical it can be replicated," says Elevation LLC's Stephen Sweeney about Windstream's (WIN +12.9%) REIT spinoff plans. "It’s very unclear if other large cap companies can have their companies viewed by the IRS as real estate."
    • UBS also has its doubts: It thinks AT&T (T +3.3%) and Verizon (VZ +1.8%) would have to open up their networks to rivals if they were spun off into REITs, something it doesn't think the carriers will be keen on doing.
    • Oppenheimer's Tim Horan is more positive, albeit while cautioning Windstream's spinoff isn't a done deal. "If successful with this restructuring, and there are obviously high regulatory barriers, this will be a game changer for the valuation of non-REIT infrastructure stocks in our industry.”
    • AT&T, Verizon, Windstream, Frontier (FTR +11.7%), and CenturyLink (CTL +4.2%) have pared their morning gains a bit amid volatile trading on very heavy volumes. AT&T has seen 66M shares trade vs. a daily average of 19.3M; Frontier has seen 89M trade vs. an average of 6.9M.
    • Enthusiasm about Windstream's spinoff stems not only from the tax benefits provided to REITs - American Tower's tax expense has been halved since it converted into a REIT in 2012 - but also from the potential for spinoffs to spark new M&A activity.
    • Windstream CFO Tony Thomas: "The REIT is going to be uniquely positioned to be in a great spot to help unlock value at other companies ... We have a good understanding of how the REIT opportunity could work in the telecom landscape."
    • Earlier: Telcos soar following Windstream's REIT announcement
    | Jul. 29, 2014, 12:14 PM | 6 Comments
  • Jun. 30, 2014, 1:03 PM
    • Carlos Slim is paying $5.6B to buy AT&T's (T +0.1%) 8.3% stake in America Movil (AMX +0.3%), according to SEC filings. With the stake worth $6.5B based on AMX's current market cap, Slim is getting a sizable discount in exchange for preventing AT&T from having to sell the shares through a public offering that could depress prices.
    • The deal makes good on a promise by AT&T to unload the stake, and thus eliminate a conflict of interest and potential regulatory hurdle as the company gets set to buy DirecTV.
    • DirecTV has 11.9M Latin American subs, and AT&T (with the help of DirecTV's spectrum) plans to use it to offer TV/broadband bundles in the region.
    • Previous: Slim to buy AT&T's America Movil stake
    | Jun. 30, 2014, 1:03 PM
  • Jun. 27, 2014, 3:54 PM
    • Carlos Slim plans to buy AT&T's (T +0.4%) 8.3% stake in America Movil (AMX +4.4%). After accounting for the spike in AMX shares that has followed the news, the stake is currently worth $6.4B.
    • The stake includes 24% of AMX's voting shares; its purchase further solidifies Slim's hold over the giant Latin American carrier as it continues expanding into Europe.
    • AT&T announced in May it would sell its AMX stake to keep regulators happy as it acquires DirecTV, whose Latin American reach is substantial and set to get bigger post-acquisition. The sale will also help Ma Bell pay for the DirecTV deal's $14.6B cash component.
    | Jun. 27, 2014, 3:54 PM
  • May 29, 2014, 4:15 AM
    • Sprint (S) Chairman Masayoshi Son reasons that the rise in telecom and cable mergers should allow his company to buy rival T-Mobile (TMUS). Three big mergers have taken place in recent months with Verizon (VZ) acquiring Vodafone (VOD) for $130B, Comcast (CMCSA) buying Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45B, and the AT&T (T) purchase of DirecTV (DTV) for $49B.
    • "Access to the Internet is currently dominated by three giants with no sizable competitor," says Son.
    • Although the company has not yet made a formal bid on T-Mobile, it looks to lay the framework for a future purchase.
    • Antitrust authorities have previously frowned on such a deal, as it would cut the number of national competitors in the wireless industry to three from four.
    | May 29, 2014, 4:15 AM | 9 Comments
  • May 20, 2014, 9:55 AM
    • "I know there are reports out there that we are talking to Dish (DISH -2.3%). I can tell you now, that is someone's fantasy ... I don't think owning a satellite company is something I'm interested in at this point," says Verizon (VZ +0.1%) CEO Lowell McAdam in response to reports his company has held talks with Dish.
    • As it is, there was plenty of skepticism Verizon, which just took on more than $60B in debt to help pay for Vodafone's Verizon Wireless stake, would turn its sights on Dish in response to AT&T's (T -0.8%) deal to acquire DirecTV.
    • McAdam states Verizon's current focus is on rolling out OTT (Web-based) programming. The company bought out Intel's would-be Web TV unit in January, and has since said it's in talks with content providers to offer a Web/mobile TV service.
    • If/when Verizon's service launches, it'll likely face competition from Dish, which plans to launch a Web TV service aimed at cord-cutters by year's end. It might also compete against AT&T,  which hopes to launch a Web TV offering within 12-18 months of the DirecTV deal's closing.
    • For each company, signing up content providers terrified of upsetting traditional pay-TV clients (and thus putting affiliate fees at risk) remains a challenge. Dish, for its part, has managed to get Disney/ESPN on board.
    | May 20, 2014, 9:55 AM | 2 Comments
  • May 19, 2014, 10:00 AM
    • If DirecTV's (DTV -2.2%) NFL Sunday Ticket deal isn't renewed on terms similar to the ones discussed, AT&T (T -2.1%) can walk away from the deal, AT&T discloses in an 8-K. DirecTV CEO Mike White says he's confident Sunday Ticket will be renewed by year's end.
    • "The last six years for AT&T have been about data, the future is about delivering video at scale," declares AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. He states AT&T is only paying for 30% of the deal in cash to keep its powder dry. Among other things, Ma Bell plans to spend up to $9B at next year's huge low-frequency spectrum auction, and will also participate in an auction for higher-frequency AWS spectrum.
    • Also: 1) AT&T plans to grow its grow its broadband footprint by 15M homes (largely in rural areas), in part by offering fixed wireless services. 2) White says DirecTV is looking for M&A opportunities in Latin America. 3) AT&T promises DirecTV's services "will continue to be available on a stand-alone basis at nationwide package prices that are the same for all customers" for 3 years. 4) Cost synergies are expected to total $1.6B/year.
    • AT&T and DirecTV are both lower. DirecTV shareholders get 1.905 AT&T shares for each DirecTV share if AT&T trades below $34.90 at closing time, and 1.724 shares if it trades above $38.58. They get an equity payoff equal to $66.50/share if AT&T trades between those two figures.
    • More on AT&T/DirecTV
    | May 19, 2014, 10:00 AM | 7 Comments
  • May 19, 2014, 1:56 AM
    • AT&T (T) intends to sell its $6B, 8.4% holding in América Móvil (AMX) in order to avoid conflicts of interest from its proposed $48.5B acquisition of DirecTV (DTV) and "facilitate the regulatory approval process in Latin America."
    • AT&T's representatives on América Móvil's board are set to resign.
    • The deal will give AT&T a large presence in a region in which DirecTV has 18M customers, making it one of the largest pay-TV operators in Central and South America - along with América Móvil.
    | May 19, 2014, 1:56 AM | 4 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.