Activist investor offloads AT&T stake - Mobile World Live

Activist investor offloads AT&T stake

17 NOV 2020

Elliott Management sold its shares in AT&T, cashing in on its initial $3.2 billion investment after instigating a shake-up at the US operator by attacking management and taking aim at its M&A strategy.

A regulatory filing released yesterday (16 November) showed Elliott Management sold its shares in AT&T during Q3. US regulation requires investment companies to disclose what stocks they own at the end of each quarter.

Another filing explained Elliott Management bought the stake during Q3 2019, around the same time it released a statement criticising decision making at the top, including AT&T’s acquisitions of DirecTV and Time Warner.

At the time, the investor urged the operator to halt M&A activity, shed non-core assets and cut operational costs, among other demands.

Elliott Management also had issues with John Stankey, the board’s choice to replace long-time CEO Randall Stephenson who took the helm in July, though it later accepted the appointment.

In October 2019, AT&T said it had taken Elliott Management’s suggestions on board, pledging not to seek headline acquisitions over three years and shed non-core assets in 2020.

As part of the shake up, the company completed a sale of fixed and mobile assets in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands earlier this month, while it is also reportedly considering the sale of a minority stake in DirecTV.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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