VZ - Verizon Communications Inc.

NYSE - NYSE Delayed Price. Currency in USD
59.50
-0.46 (-0.77%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close59.96
Open59.93
Bid0.00 x 1100
Ask59.62 x 1300
Day's Range59.19 - 59.99
52 Week Range52.28 - 61.58
Volume9,929,652
Avg. Volume12,233,615
Market Cap246.078B
Beta (3Y Monthly)0.47
PE Ratio (TTM)15.54
EPS (TTM)3.83
Earnings DateOct 25, 2019
Forward Dividend & Yield2.46 (4.10%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-10-09
1y Target Est60.52
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
  • Samantha Power joins Influencers with Andy Serwer
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Samantha Power joins Influencers with Andy Serwer

    Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer sits down former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power.

  • Verizon Communications (VZ) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Verizon Communications (VZ) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    Verizon Communications (VZ) closed the most recent trading day at $59.50, moving -0.77% from the previous trading session.

  • Will 5G Deployment Create Room for Investment in Tower REITs?
    Zacks

    Will 5G Deployment Create Room for Investment in Tower REITs?

    As the wireless industry rolls out the 5G technology, the latest network deployment is triggering demand for tower leasing which looks encouraging for the days ahead.

  • Apple and Disney split, while AT&T gets it from all sides
    Yahoo Finance

    Apple and Disney split, while AT&T gets it from all sides

    The media business has always been about frenemies and evolving alliances which makes for tricky navigation even in quiescent times.

  • Telecom Stock Roundup: Qualcomm Plans Low-Priced 5G Chips, CenturyLink's Deal & More
    Zacks

    Telecom Stock Roundup: Qualcomm Plans Low-Priced 5G Chips, CenturyLink's Deal & More

    While Qualcomm (QCOM) is planning to develop cheap 5G chipsets for the masses, CenturyLink (CTL) aims to strengthen its position in the content delivery network with the acquisition of Steamroot.

  • 5G Wireless Mid-Band Waves Open Doors For Cable, Internet Firms
    Investor's Business Daily

    5G Wireless Mid-Band Waves Open Doors For Cable, Internet Firms

    If the U.S. wants to be a 5G wireless leader, freeing up more radio spectrum for 5G networks will be key. Problem is, the U.S. lags in opening up mid-band airwaves for 5G wireless services.

  • GlobeNewswire

    Verizon continues to win, tops SMB categories in 2019 J.D. Power Study

    Verizon ranks highest for customer satisfaction with small/medium business and very small business among wireline service providers according to J.D. Power. It’s the third year.

  • Is Verizon Stock A Buy? Dividends A Plus Amid Talk Of Negative Interest Rates
    Investor's Business Daily

    Is Verizon Stock A Buy? Dividends A Plus Amid Talk Of Negative Interest Rates

    Verizon stock usually is a dividend play, as are the shares of its rival AT&T.; But Verizon 5G lies ahead. Here's what various analyses say about Verizon as 5G wireless comes into play.

  • Elliott Management May Be Right About AT&T Stock
    InvestorPlace

    Elliott Management May Be Right About AT&T Stock

    When you're a big company, you need to think big in order to keep on growing. That was the thought process behind AT&T's (NYSE:T) moves into becoming not only a distributor of content but a creator of one as well. As wireless adoption slowed, T needed to significantly move the needle to continue making investors happy. Unfortunately, it may be having the opposite effect on AT&T stock.Source: Shutterstock After struggling to integrate Time Warner into its system, never realizing the full potential of bundling as well as a few other missteps, T stock has now become the target of some very angry shareholders. That includes activist investors at Elliott ManagementAnd Elliott may have a point.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsAT&T's big plans haven't come to fruition and they may never. Considering the debt that AT&T is now ladled with, it might be time to cut losses and run. For investors, AT&T stock may not be the risk-free investment they think it is. Elliott's involvement brings many of its issues to the forefront. AT&T's Big Moves Aren't WorkingAfter the growth of the wireless boom slowed to trickle and fungibility among carriers resulted in a price war, AT&T was caught between a rock and hard place. * 10 Stocks to Sell in Market-Cursed September Owners of AT&T had grown accustomed to getting some "oomph" with their investment. The firm couldn't go back to being a boring widow and orphan stock. So, as Verizon (NYSE:VZ) went the web route and T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) began snagging up weaker rivals, AT&T decided to copy the creator/distributor model that worked for several other cable providers.The company set itself to be an all-in-one media and content provider. It would make the movies and then distribute them over its satellite and mobile video operations.The problem is, while this worked for Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), it really hasn't worked so well for AT&T.It turns out, providing cable TV services is just as fungible as wireless service. People continue to cut the cord at a fevered pace and adopt streaming instead. For AT&T's, DirecTV this has resulted in the fleeing of subscribers. The same could be said for T's U-Verse traditional cable service.When AT&T first purchased DirecTV, it had 20.3 million US customers. Adding in U-verse brings the total to 26 million. After AT&T reported earnings in the second quarter, that number had dipped to just 21.6 million. That's a 17% drop since the DirecTV buyout.Whoops.This is a huge issue if your entire future is based on getting people to watch your produced movies and T.V. shows on your exclusive networks. With people fleeing AT&T's distribution platform, the big buyout of Time Warner starts to make less sense. It can't just offer that content to its subscribers because there are no subscribers left. In order to justify the purchase of Time Warner, you have to lose the exclusivity. And once you do that, the model is broken. AT&T Gets a Letter From ElliottAll of this brings us to Paul Singer and Elliott Management. The activist shop disclosed a $3.2 billion stake in the firm and sent a strongly worded letter to AT&T's management indicating that its recent blunders have hurt shareholders.In its letter, Elliott partner Jesse Cohn and associate portfolio manager Marc Steinberg wrote that AT&T should sell some of its non-core businesses such as its Mexican wireless operations. More importantly, it should cut DirecTV loose either via a spin-out or asset sale. Likewise, AT&T needs to focus on being more profitable and generate more revenue per employee. Something rival Verizon does well. Also on the menu was increased buyback and dividend programs.If management at AT&T complied and work with Elliott's suggestions, AT&T stock could be worth north of $60 per share by 2021. That would be a roughly 65% gain from recent closing prices. Elliott Has a Point with AT&TThe reality is, Singer and Elliott have a point with their demands. The buyout of DirectTV literally happened at the peak of cable T.V. and the beginning of streaming television.Since then, firms like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Disney (NYSE:DIS) have started to eat traditional TV's lunch. This is evident by the drop in AT&T's subscribers, and the company can't seem to compete. It's latest streaming efforts after DirectTV Now was bust is a new streaming service that looks just like cable tv and costs a staggering $93 a month.This isn't a smart business, especially considering the massive debt AT&T took on to do all of this. The firm spent $67 billion purchase DirecTV and another $109 billion in order to complete the buyout of Time Warner. That's insane. What's worse is that T is going to have to spend a ton in order to build-out its 5G network in order to compete with VZ and TMUS. That will just put more debt on the pile.So, stopping the bleeding makes sense. Spinning out DirecTV along with some of that debt could significantly reduce AT&T's burden. Meanwhile, Time Warner's assets aren't bad. Monetizing them better and creating more partnerships with other streaming networks could lead to bigger profits down the road from the division. The key is that the exclusivity is not going to happen. A Longer Road for AT&T StockIn the end, AT&T's big plans haven't worked out and shareholders have suffered. Elliott may be on to something by "cutting the cord" and freeing AT&T from the DirecTV shackles.Investors seem to like the idea as AT&T stock jumped at the announcement that the firm had taken a stake. The question is, whether or not, Elliott is able to make good on its ideas and get T's management to budge. In the meantime, investors may not want to stick around to find out.Disclosure: At the time of writing, Aaron Levitt did not have a position in any stock mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Stocks to Sell in Market-Cursed September * 7 of the Worst IPO Stocks in 2019 * 7 Best Stocks That Crushed It This Earnings Season The post Elliott Management May Be Right About AT&T Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Financial Times

    Goldman taps Amazon executive as new tech boss

    Goldman Sachs has hired a senior executive from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to replace departing technology boss Elisha Wiesel, in a move that could accelerate the bank’s migration to cloud services. Goldman announced the appointment of Marco Argenti, erstwhile vice-president of technology at cloud-technology provider AWS, in an internal memo on Thursday.

  • Can Europe's $130 Billion Tech Giant Avoid Yahoo’s Fate?
    Bloomberg

    Can Europe's $130 Billion Tech Giant Avoid Yahoo’s Fate?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Europe is getting its own version of Softbank Group Corp. with the Amsterdam listing of tech investment firm Prosus NV. The move will likely help it avoid the fate of Yahoo Inc., the erstwhile Silicon Valley titan which has since fizzled away as a holding company.South African media and internet firm Naspers Ltd. has spun most of its technology investment out into Prosus. That new company, like its parent (which retains a stake of more than 73%), derives almost all of its 121 billion-euro ($133 billion) market capitalization from a 31% stake in Tencent Holdings Ltd., the Chinese internet behemoth behind WeChat. That’s much like Softbank, which trades at a discount to its investment in China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.Bob van Dijk, the chief executive of both Prosus and Naspers, intended the Amsterdam listing to reduce the discount to the $131 billion value of the Tencent investment.Naspers came to constitute about 20% of the Johannesburg stock exchange; that means index funds had to sell shares in order to meet limitations about concentrating too much ownership in one stock. The stock started to underperform Tencent shares the moment it exceeded a 10% weighting, as Bloomberg Intelligence analyst John Davies has pointed out.On that basis, the listing has so far been a success. When Naspers announced the spin-off in March, it was trading at a near 30% discount to its Tencent stake, taking into account its net cash position. Now Prosus is trading at a discount of just 3% to its Tencent shares, net of cash but not including other investments.Prosus is home to more than just the Tencent stake. It houses most of the technology investments made by Naspers, including stakes in Delivery Hero AG, Mail.Ru Group Ltd. and PayU. The value of the publicly-traded entities alone is 4.1 billion euros. Including these, Prosus still has a discount of perhaps 20% to its sum-of-the-parts valuation.The question for van Dijk and his team remains to what extent they can break the stock’s lockstep with the Tencent share price. If they can’t, then Prosus risks becoming little more than a proxy investment, and follow the fate of Yahoo.That American firm, after selling its eponymous internet assets to Verizon Communications Inc. in 2017, rebranded as Altaba Inc., and became a holding company for investments in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan Corp. Their combined value persistently exceeded Altaba’s valuation by some 25%. It is now dissolving those holdings and shutting up shop.Some sort of mark down is always likely to be the case, partially because Prosus shareholders, like those of Altaba, have no real say in the running of the firm’s biggest investment. Tencent management is after all not directly accountable to Prosus investors. And there continue to be overhanging concerns about governance, as I have written before.Given all that, the relatively slim Prosus discount – compared to Altaba, at least – suggests investors are in fact affording some value to its portfolio of investments besides Tencent. Does that mean they would rather van Dijk reduce the Tencent stake (he says he has no plans to do so) and reinvest the proceeds elsewhere? Probably not.There are reasons why Prosus might continue to close the valuation gap. Inclusion on Amsterdam’s Euronext indices over the next few months ought to attract index funds, for instance. And some more lucrative exits such as the the 1.6-billion-euro profit Naspers made on India’s Flipkart would reassure shareholders that van Dijk is making the right investment calls.Van Dijk has taken a healthy step to bring the company more in line with the value of its holdings. But now he can’t as readily point towards technicalities as a reason for the discount, he needs to prove his ability to deliver the investment returns that justify spending shareholders’ money.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at awebb25@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Baker at stebaker@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Texas AG: Consumers ultimately pay a price for ‘free’ Google searches
    Yahoo Finance

    Texas AG: Consumers ultimately pay a price for ‘free’ Google searches

    Texas attorney general Ken Paxton said consumers ultimately pay the price for Google's market dominance.

  • Verizon (VZ) Brings 5G Ultra Wideband to Mcity Test Facility
    Zacks

    Verizon (VZ) Brings 5G Ultra Wideband to Mcity Test Facility

    As part of Mcity's leadership circle, Verizon (VZ) is actively developing various 5G solutions designed to increase pedestrian safety and avoid car accidents.

  • Verizon Communications (VZ) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Verizon Communications (VZ) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

    Verizon Communications (VZ) closed at $59.71 in the latest trading session, marking a +1.79% move from the prior day.

  • GlobeNewswire

    Verizon to speak at Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference September 11

    NEW YORK, Sept. 10, 2019 -- Ronan Dunne, executive vice president for Verizon, (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), and group CEO for Verizon Consumer, is scheduled to speak at the Bank of.

  • GlobeNewswire

    Verizon supercharges collaboration for global enterprises

    BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Sept. 10, 2019 -- Businesses now have the opportunity to enhance their employee collaboration and productivity as well as reduce costs, with new.

  • AT&T’s stock jumps after activist investor sees 65% rally potential to a record high
    MarketWatch

    AT&T’s stock jumps after activist investor sees 65% rally potential to a record high

    Shares of AT&T Inc. surge in heavy volume to an 18-month high, after an activist investor that recently purchased a large stake in the telecom and media giant outlines a plan that it believes will boost the stock by more than 65% in less two years.

  • Could Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Have The Makings Of Another Dividend Aristocrat?
    Simply Wall St.

    Could Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Have The Makings Of Another Dividend Aristocrat?

    Dividend paying stocks like Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) tend to be popular with investors, and for good...

  • Own AT&T? Verizon Has a Better Dividend, Better Focus
    TheStreet.com

    Own AT&T? Verizon Has a Better Dividend, Better Focus

    Elliott Management has expressed concern over not just the expense made in diversifying AT&T;'s overall business direction, but also in the reshuffling of leadership at the C-level.

  • GlobeNewswire

    Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband network now live at University of Michigan’s test bed for driverless cars 

    Verizon is working with Mcity at the University of Michigan to advance transportation safety and shape the future of autonomous vehicles and smart cities using 5G. The Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband network is now live at the Mcity Test Facility where we are testing various 5G solutions designed to boost pedestrian safety and avoid car accidents.

  • Huawei and Samsung’s New 5G Chips Pose Threat to Qualcomm
    Bloomberg

    Huawei and Samsung’s New 5G Chips Pose Threat to Qualcomm

    (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co. and Huawei Technologies Co. took turns announcing new mobile processors at the IFA technology show in Berlin last week, and the big thing the new chips have in common is an integrated 5G modem.In a market dominated by U.S. rival Qualcomm Inc., the world’s two biggest smartphone manufacturers asserted a lead in delivering one of the keys to unlocking widespread availability of 5G devices. A system-on-chip that integrates the applications processor and a fifth-generation wireless modem significantly reduces the space and power requirements compared to existing solutions that use two separate chips.Qualcomm has such models on its 2020 road map, but this past week Samsung announced it’s planning mass production for its alternative at the end of 2019 and Huawei is moving even faster, promising to release its most advanced processor with the Mate 30 Pro smartphone on Sept. 19.The Kirin 990 5G from Huawei subsidiary HiSilicon is built at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and packs more than 10.3 billion transistors into a space the size of a fingernail. It includes a graphics processor, an octa-core CPU, and the all-important 5G modem, along with dedicated neural processing units for accelerating artificial intelligence tasks.At Huawei’s Berlin launch event, consumer group Chief Executive Officer Richard Yu showed the high-end 990 5G achieving real-world download speeds on China Mobile’s network in excess of 1.7Gbps. That’s fast enough to download high-definition movies and demanding 3-D games in a matter of seconds.Samsung’s approach with its Exynos 980 is to target the mid-range. Along with 5G capabilities, this new chip integrates 802.11ax fast Wi-Fi along with Samsung’s own NPU. It won’t run apps and games quite as quickly as flagship chips, but should help the South Korean company garner a slice of the more mainstream market before Qualcomm brings out an armada of new 5G-capable chips next year.Samsung’s emphasis on this part of the mobile market was also signaled by its launch of the Galaxy A90 this month, one of the earliest examples of a mid-range device with 5G.Huawei’s Next Flagship Phone Set to Sink Without Google Apps (1)For its part, Qualcomm is promising to cover the entire range of price points and mobile device types with its 5G portfolio in 2020, however the world’s premier mobile chip designer is finding itself behind its faster-moving rivals.While Huawei is “pushing to show tech leadership,” the company has “made sacrifices in order to make an integrated SOC,” said Anshel Sag, mobile industry analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. He cited the chip’s lack of support for mmWave -- the high-frequency 5G favored by U.S. carriers AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. plus some European ones -- as an example. The Kirin 990 5G is fast by today’s standards and a great upgrade for Huawei’s upcoming devices in China, but Sag said it’ll find itself outpaced by rivals in 2020.The silver lining to the trade war for Qualcomm, however, is that Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro will struggle to sell in Europe so long as the Trump administration prevents it from offering Google services on new phones. Irrespective of how fast and advanced its Kirin 990 5G may be, the trade war will prevent Huawei from fully capitalizing on its capabilities and may, in fact, push the company to license the chip out to other smartphone vendors, such as Lenovo Group, which is not subject to the same sanctions.If the U.S. keeps Huawei on its blacklist, preventing it from buying American technology, the company faces further chip challenges. To develop successors to the Kirin 990, it needs to license the latest designs from SoftBank Group’s ARM, but that company discontinued work with Huawei because of the U.S. ban.(Updates with analyst comment in the third from last paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at vsavov5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Nate Lanxon, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • GuruFocus.com

    Paul Singer's Elliott Management Takes Aim at AT&T

    Activist firm sees stock valued at $60 per share Continue reading...

  • Elliott’s $3.2 Billion AT&T Bet Signals ‘There Will Be a Fight’
    Bloomberg

    Elliott’s $3.2 Billion AT&T Bet Signals ‘There Will Be a Fight’

    (Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc.’s sweeping transformation from Ma Bell to a multimedia titan has gone both too far and not far enough for Elliott Management Corp.Billionaire Paul Singer’s New York hedge fund disclosed a new $3.2 billion position in AT&T, taking on one of the nation’s biggest and most widely held companies with a plan to boost its share price by more than 50% through asset sales and cost cutting.Investors applauded the development, briefly sending AT&T shares on their biggest intraday rally in more than a decade.For Singer, the move represents one of the biggest bets in the four decades since the hard-driving activist investor founded his firm. And it strikes at the core of the way AT&T has built its bigger-is-better empire: a costly M&A binge that has turned the carrier into one of the most indebted companies on Earth.“There will be a fight,” said Chetan Sharma, a wireless-industry analyst.Elliott outlined a four-part plan for the company in a letter to its board Monday. The proposal calls for the company to explore divesting assets, including satellite-TV provider DirecTV, the Mexican wireless operations, pieces of the landline business, and others.It urges AT&T, led by Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, to exit businesses that don’t fit its strategy, run a more efficient operation and stop making major acquisitions. Elliott said it would also recommend candidates to add to AT&T’s board.In response, AT&T said it would review Elliott’s recommendations and said many of them are “ones we are already executing today.”The telecom giant said its strategy is “driven by the unique portfolio of valuable businesses we’ve assembled across communications networks and media and entertainment, and as Elliott points out, is the foundation for significant value creation.”The carrier said it believes that “growing and investing in these businesses is the best path forward for our company and our shareholders.”Still, investors seem to think Elliott’s plan could wring more value from AT&T. The shares surged as much as 5.2% to $38.14 in New York trading Monday. That was the biggest intraday jump since March 2009 and put them at their highest level since February of last year. They later settled down to a 2.7% gain amid a broader pullback in the market.Elliott said the investment -- among its largest to date -- was made because the company is deeply undervalued after a period of “prolonged and substantial underperformance.” It argued this has been marked by its shares lagging the broader S&P 500 over the past decade.It pointed to a series of strategic setbacks, including $200 billion in acquisitions, the “most damaging” of which was its $39 billion attempted purchase of T-Mobile US Inc. That deal resulted in the largest breakup fee of all time when the government blocked it in 2011 -- about $6 billion in cash and assets.“In addition to the internal and external distractions it caused itself, AT&T’s failed takeover capitalized a viable competitor for years to come,” Elliott said.The hedge fund also slammed the subsequent acquisitions of DirecTV and media giant Time Warner Inc. That puts particular pressure on Stephenson, 59, who oversaw the deals Elliott criticized in the letter.But, while the position in AT&T is large, Elliott may have a difficult time pushing for change unless it gets other investors to back its stance. Its newly disclosed stake in AT&T represents just about 1.2% of the company’s total market value.Elliott’s plan also calls for aggressive cost-cutting measures that aim to improve AT&T’s margins by 3 percentage points by 2022. Those margins have come under pressure amid cord cutting in video and widespread discounting in wireless, and Elliott said competitors like Verizon Communications Inc. have done a better job addressing those headwinds.Elliott said in the letter it has identified opportunities for savings in excess of $10 billion, but the plan would only require cost cuts of $5 billion.Elliott is also calling for a series of governance changes, including separating the roles of CEO and chairman -- currently held by Stephenson -- and the formation of a strategic review committee to identify the opportunities at hand.Transformative DealsWith a series of deals over the past several years, AT&T has transformed itself from a traditional telecom company into a multimedia behemoth. The company bought satellite-TV provider DirecTV for $67 billion in 2015, leaping into first place among U.S. pay-TV companies. Elliott criticized that deal in its letter as having come “at the absolute peak of the linear TV market.”AT&T then moved firmly into entertainment and media with the $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner in 2018. That deal brought marquee assets such as HBO, CNN and Warner Bros.“Despite nearly 600 days passing between signing and closing (and more than a year passing since), AT&T has yet to articulate a clear strategic rationale for why AT&T needs to own Time Warner,” Jesse Cohn, a partner at Elliott, and Marc Steinberg, an associate portfolio manager, said in the letter. “While it is too soon to tell whether AT&T can create value with Time Warner, we remain cautious on the benefits of this combination.”High-Profile FightsElliott has a history of tackling some of the biggest and most high-profile companies around the globe, including EBay Inc., Pernod Ricard SA, and Bayer AG in the past year alone. The AT&T investment marks Elliott’s single largest equity investment with an activist slant.It’s not the first time Elliott has taken on a major telecommunications company, either. The hedge fund battled Vivendi SA for control of the board of Telecom Italia SpA, eventually winning control in 2018 in a fight that dragged on into this year.Those battles don’t always end in success. In Elliott’s proxy fight at Hyundai Motor Group earlier this year, investors opted not to elect its slate of directors at two of the South Korean manufacturer’s subsidiaries. But even in some of its major losses, like at Samsung Electronics Co., the repercussion of its agitations can send ripples beyond the proxy clash.Samsung managed to keep Elliott at bay in 2015 but touched off a series of events that resulted in a brief jail term for the electronics giant’s billionaire heir apparent for influence peddling, protests by hundreds of thousands of people in Seoul, and the downfall and imprisonment of South Korea’s president, Park Geun-hye.Heavy DebtAT&T is the most indebted company in the world -- not counting financial firms and government-backed entities -- with $194 billion in total debt as of June, a legacy of Stephenson’s steady clip of large acquisitions. The CEO used to keep a spreadsheet of a few dozen companies that he studies on his tablet to plan his next big deal, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in 2016.The stock is among the top 20 most widely held U.S.-traded companies among institutional investors, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s partially because of its steady dividend, which totaled $2.04 a share last year, giving investors a reliable payout in good times and bad.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says“AT&T will likely be under greater pressure to streamline operations and wring better performance out of Time Warner following the involvement of activist investor Elliott Management, yet this probably won’t prompt a change in company strategy. ... Elliott’s recommendation to spin off the DirecTV satellite business isn’t practical, in our view, as AT&T likely needs its free cash to help fund its dividend.”\-- John Butler, senior telecom analyst, and Boyoung Kim, associate analystClick here to view the research.Phone companies have also traditionally been considered a safety net for investors in bad economic times because people still need to communicate, though AT&T’s exposure to the landline business has more recently been a drag on profits because more people are shutting off their home phones and going wireless-only.Elliott’s move also put AT&T back in the cross hairs of one of its biggest critics: Donald Trump.The president, whose Justice Department unsuccessfully opposed AT&T’s Time Warner acquisition and who has slammed CNN’s coverage of him, cheered on Elliott’s efforts.“Great news that an activist investor is now involved with AT&T,” he tweeted.\--With assistance from Olga Kharif.To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Deveau in New York at sdeveau2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Liana Baker at lbaker75@bloomberg.net, Nick Turner, John J. Edwards IIIFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • AT&T jumps as Elliott Management takes big stake, says stock could double
    Yahoo Finance

    AT&T jumps as Elliott Management takes big stake, says stock could double

    Activist hedge fund Elliott Management revealed on Monday that it had taken a massive position in AT&T, saying the telecom giant can see its stock double by 2021.

  • AT&T Gets Rung Up by an Activist, Deservedly
    Bloomberg

    AT&T Gets Rung Up by an Activist, Deservedly

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Please, AT&T, no more giant mergers and acquisitions. Wall Street is begging you.That was one of the main messages in a letter Monday morning to AT&T Inc.’s board from Jesse Cohn, the head of U.S. activist investing at Elliott Management Corp. who is pressuring the communications and media conglomerate to get its act together. AT&T’s share price and reputation have been dragged down by troubles stemming from its ill-advised takeover of DirecTV in 2015 and its subsequent megadeal last year for Time Warner, which has yet to bear fruit. AT&T’s core wireless business continues to perform well, but it’s being overshadowed by CEO Randall Stephenson’s perplexing decision to expand into areas beyond his and the company’s expertise. And it’s making this push at a time when others from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corp. to Verizon Communications Inc. are looking to exit media and pay-TV assets or otherwise streamline their businesses. Elliott disclosed that it owns $3.2 billion of AT&T stock and wants the company to consider a number of changes. They include ridding itself of distractions such as the DirecTV unit and wireless operations in Mexico; eliminating wasteful spending; empowering the board to hold Stephenson’s team more accountable; and avoiding any more big M&A. This way, AT&T can sharpen its focus on 5G, the next generation of wireless networks – in which it has a chance to outshine Verizon – and come up with a clearer strategy for streaming-TV products, where it faces fierce competition from Netflix Inc., Walt Disney Co. and others. As of now, AT&T offers all of the following video services, and I wouldn’t be surprised if its own managers failed a pop quiz on which one does what:Cohn’s letter, co-signed by Marc Steinberg, an associate portfolio manager at Elliott, is a reiteration of the columns I’ve written during the past two years, so I agree with many of their points. Activist shareholders are often guilty of stating the obvious and making overly broad recommendations for things a company should already be doing anyway. But this is a case where AT&T has started to look unwieldy and is moving too slowly to address that. It’s time an investor spoke up.To Stephenson’s credit, he has been making headway in paying down debt this year, by raising prices for DirecTV’s satellite and streaming packages and selling off WarnerMedia’s (formerly Time Warner) Hudson Yards office space in New York and its  stake in Hulu. Still, AT&T was saddled with $186 billion of debt, net of cash, as of June. That’s more than fellow media giants Disney and Comcast Corp. owe combined. After AT&T’s share price popped almost 5% on Monday morning, the company acknowledged the letter and said Stephenson and his team “look forward to engaging with Elliott.” It’s always my favorite choice of words by companies suddenly targeted by an activist investor, because you know the last thing they are thinking is that they’re looking forward to dealing with one. AT&T also said that it’s already taking many of the actions Elliott proposed. If that’s true AT&T sure hasn’t done a great job of articulating that. There are so many strategic decisions I could pick apart (and have), but I think this one is emblematic of the company’s situation: Last year, AT&T decided that driving away DirecTV and DirecTV Now (now called AT&T TV Now) customers by raising prices and cutting back on channels was the best path to improving profitability. When making a product less appealing to customers is the strategy, that’s a problem. It doesn’t serve consumers, employees or shareholders to operate that way, which is why I’ve written here and here that AT&T should sell off the DirecTV division – especially as AT&T’s own WarnerMedia group gears up to introduce HBO Max next year, an app that will compete with DirecTV services.  AT&T is valued at nearly 8 times forward Ebitda, a 20% premium to its five-year historical average ratio, though it’s a wide discount to Disney and Comcast’s valuations. Cohn and Steinberg figure their suggestions could drive AT&T above $60 a share by the end of 2021, from about $38 currently. I don’t put much stock in such predictions, though it’s clearly caught shareholders’ attention. Whether AT&T gets to $60, or $50 or $70, is anyone’s guess. But Stephenson does need to rethink his approach – or the board may need to rethink his title. To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.