AT&T in talks to diffuse shareholder row - Mobile World Live

AT&T in talks to diffuse shareholder row

18 OCT 2019

AT&T opened discussions with activist investor Elliott Management on demands for the operator to make sweeping changes to its business, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper’s sources stated the companies are assessing a series of requests made in a scathing letter criticising AT&T’s performance and future strategy, made public by the shareholder in September.

In the letter Elliott Management slammed the operator’s acquisition strategy, including its big money purchases of content assets such as Time Warner, and demanded a range of changes it said need to be made at the operator to improve its financial and operational performance.

Among these are cost cutting measures, moving away from further acquisitions, divesting non-core assets and changing the management structure at the helm of the company.

In the weeks following Elliott’s public criticism of the company, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson defended its media buys but conceded some of the investor’s points would be “looked at”.

The proposals have also been slammed by union Communication Workers of America, which called the move a “predatory approach” that would cost more than 30,000 jobs for short-term shareholder gain.

Elliott Management’s attempts to force change at AT&T follows the company’s public row with Vivendi over control of Telecom Italia, which appears to be finally subsiding after a period of management and board changes at the operator.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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