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AT&T Inc. (T)

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  • Jul. 15, 2013, 7:23 PM
    "We believe AT&T (T) is overpaying for Leap’s (LEAP) spectrum," says BMO's Kevin Manning, expressing a common view. He estimates AT&T is paying $5.25B for Leap after factoring debt and lease obligations, or $2.31/MHz/POP. That's well above the prices attached to recent spectrum deals (I, II), something attributed to a desire to keep Leap out of T-Mobile's (TMUS) hands. Much of Leap's spectrum resides in the AWS band, where T-Mobile has a huge presence. Though few analysts expect a higher bid, Leap closed 13% above AT&T's offer price, in part due to expected spectrum proceeds. One unanswered question: What will happen to AT&T's AIO prepaid brand, given the carrier's plans to support Leap's Cricket brand? (AT&T/Leap: I, II)
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  • Jul. 14, 2013, 2:21 AM
    Trading volume in Leap Wireless (LEAP) options leapt to 7,139 contracts vs an average of 1,320 contracts on Friday prior to the announcement that AT&T (T) has agreed to acquire the smaller carrier for $1.18B. The call-to-put ratio  was 20-1. "It appears that prior knowledge of this takeover may have been leaked and traded on," says options analyst Ophir Gottlieb. The authorities are pretty good at identifying the people who carry out these trades, including with deals involving Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Heinz.
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  • Jul. 12, 2013, 5:23 PM
    More on AT&T/Leap: AT&T is paying $1.18B for Leap's equity, and assuming $2.8B in net debt. Leap shareholders will also receive net proceeds from the sale of spectrum Leap bought for $204M last August. Leap has 5M prepaid subs on a network covering 96M people, and AT&T says it will keep the Cricket brand and expand its reach. But this deal is mostly about acquiring Leap's spectrum (covers 137M people), much of which is unused and could be of use in AT&T's 4G buildout, especially in urban areas. Expect the FCC to closely scrutinize the deal; will new leadership yield a different outcome than the one for the T-Mobile deal? LEAP now +106.5% AH to $16.48, investors are betting on a higher bid. TMUS +4.1%. T -0.4%. (PR)
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  • Jul. 12, 2013, 5:07 PM
    AT&T (T) is buying Leap Wireless (LEAP) for $15/share in cash. LEAP +88% AH to $15. Sprint (S) +1.7%. T-Mobile USA (TMUS) +0.4%.
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  • Jul. 12, 2013, 1:26 PM
    Hulu's old media owners (DIS, CMCSA, FOXA) have decided not to sell the company, or even a stake in it, and will instead provide a $750M cash infusion while maintaining their current equity positions. Reported demands for a slew of streaming/licensing restrictions likely helped scuttle buyout/investment talks with the likes of DirecTV (DTV), Time Warner Cable (TWC), and AT&T/Chermin (T), much as they helped scuttle 2011 talks. Netflix (NFLX +4.4%) is probably pleased. (previous)
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  • Jul. 9, 2013, 3:31 AM
    Hulu has reportedly received acquisition offers from DirecTV (DTV) and a consortium comprising Guggenheim Digital Media and private-equity firm KKR (KKR), as well as from a group made up of AT&T (T) and Chernin. Time Warner Cable (TWC) offered to acquire a stake and become an investor alongside Hulu's owners, 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Disney (DIS) and Comcast (CMCSA). There's no word on bid amounts, although DirecTV has offered over $1B in the past.
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  • Jul. 7, 2013, 1:09 AM
    AT&T (T) and Chernin Group have reportedly submitted a joint offer to acquire Hulu from Disney (DIS), 21st Century Fox (FOX) and Comcast (CMCSA), although it's not clear if the previous suitors of the Internet video service made bids ahead of the deadline on Friday for binding proposals. Those suitors include DirecTV (DTV), Yahoo (YHOO), Time Warner Cable (TWC) and KKR (KKR). Chernin is led by Peter Chernin, who founded Hulu when he was a senior exec at News Corp. (Previous)
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  • Jul. 3, 2013, 2:00 PM
    Verizon's (VZ) rumored plan to expand into Canada could pay for itself just via roaming fee savings, thinks BMO's Kevin Manning. Manning estimates Verizon paid $300M-$350M in 2012 roaming fees, a range equal to 1/6 to 1/7 of the $2B he thinks Big Red would have to spend to become a Canadian mobile player. He sees the savings adding $0.06-$0.10 to EPS. Meanwhile, Macquarie thinks both Verizon and AT&T (T) are looking to make acquisitions before interest rates rise (presumably thanks to Ben Bernanke's plan to wind down QE). "Everyone is talking to everyone and nothing is off the table." (Verizon/Vodafone) (AT&T/Europe)
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  • Jul. 3, 2013, 10:07 AM
    Leap Wireless (LEAP +3.4%) jumps following an upgrade to Neutral from Macquarie's Kevin Smithen, which thinks the odds of a $10+/share acquisition by T-Mobile USA or Dish have grown. Smithen thinks the recent run-up in T-Mobile (TMUS) shares has made a deal easier for the #4 U.S. carrier to swallow, and considers the concentration of Leap's equity in a few holders "both a catalyst and an obstacle for a sale." He cautions Leap's "already eroding operating business" could be further pressured by T-Mobile's plans to enter Leap markets (via MetroPCS), but adds it could "drive Leap's Board and key holders to sell now."
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  • Jun. 20, 2013, 4:37 PM
    AT&T (T) considered buying up to a 29.9% stake in Telefonica (TEF) before the Spanish government said no, has mulled buying France Telecom (FTE)/Deutsche Telekom's (DTEGY.PK) Everything Everywhere U.K. mobile JV and Telefonica's O2 U.K. unit or Latin American ops, and "remains interested" in Vodafone (VOD) assets, Bloomberg reports. A merger with Telefonica has also been explored, even though AT&T's ties with America Movil (AMX) would complicate matters. Meanwhile, the FT reports CEO Randall Stephenson is meeting with EC telecom regulator Neelie Kroes. It safe to assume Ma Bell is serious about expanding abroad in order to offset slumping U.S. growth. (previous)
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  • Jun. 6, 2013, 11:13 AM
    AT&T (T) has reportedly joined the ranks of companies weighing bids for Hulu (DIS, CMCSA, NWS): sources tell Kara Swisher Ma Bell is in talks with a company run by former News Corp. COO Peter Chermin to make a joint offer for the online video site. But before investors start mulling the potential U-verse and mobile implications, it should be noted Yahoo, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, and Guggenheim Partners have also been named as interested parties in recent weeks. (previous)
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  • May 16, 2013, 11:07 AM
    Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK) can sell its 74% stake in T-Mobile USA (TMUS +2.5%) prior to the end of an 18-month lockup period if it receives a buyout offer for the entire stake, says CFO Timotheus Hoettges. The comments seem to be giving a lift to the #4 U.S. carrier. T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter recently stated his company wanted to extend the footprint of the MetroPCS brand by ~100M POPs over the next 6 quarters. T-Mobile is counting on 4G support to give MetroPCS an edge over prepaid rivals such as Leap (LEAP) and AT&T's 3G-only Aio prepaid service.
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  • Apr. 15, 2013, 5:00 PM
    If Dish (DISH -2.3%) fails to buy Sprint (S +13.8%), it will have "few other attractive options" in mobile, points out TownHall Research: it thinks Dish's mobile efforts could be delayed by a over a year if Sprint turns it down. FBR notes Sprint, Dish, and Clearwire (CLWR -3.2%) have a combined $45B in debt, and predicts a higher bid from SoftBank (SFTBF.PK), whose scale and ability to reposition Sprint remain selling points. With Charlie Ergen saying Dish wants to differentiate its offerings via integrated services rather than pricing, rivals (T, VZ, PCS) are likely hoping Dish beats out SoftBank, which many believe plans to launch a price war. (more)
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  • Apr. 15, 2013, 11:03 AM
    MetroPCS (PCS -3.6%) and Leap Wireless (LEAP -2.5%) slump in the wake of Dish Network's $25.5B offer for Sprint. The offer, which comes shortly after Bloomberg reported Dish had proposed a tie-up with T-Mobile USA (DTEGY.PK), removes T-Mobile/MetroPCS as an M&A target (for now, at least), and lowers the odds of an offer for Leap. Should a Dish/Sprint merger happen, it would also potentially create a tougher rival for the low-end carriers, though Sprint/SoftBank would arguably do the same.
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  • Apr. 11, 2013, 12:52 PM
    Paulson & Co. says it will support Deutsche Telekom's (DTEGY.PK) revised offer for MetroPCS (PCS -0.1%). Schoenfeld Asset Management, another opponent of the original deal, says it's reviewing the deal terms. Nonetheless, with Paulson's votes added to the existing support of Madison Dearborn (another major MetroPCS investor), the deal's odds are looking good. MetroPCS shares are near breakeven, after trading higher AH yesterday on news of DT's new bid. LEAP -1.6%.
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  • Apr. 10, 2013, 3:56 PM
    Leap Wireless (LEAP +3.1%) is closing with a solid gain after the WSJ reported Deutsche Telekom is preparing a higher bid for prepaid rival MetroPCS. Leap, which had 45.4% of its float shorted as of March 15 (that's actually down from late-2012 levels), has often risen and fallen on M&A speculation.
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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.