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AT&T CEO Downplays Threat From Activist Investor Group

September 17, 2019 / Matt Kapko

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson says the activist investor group that targeted the company last week with a series of demands including potential divestitures, a change in leadership, and a freeze on merger-and-aquisition activity is a group of “smart guys” but the strategies outlined in its letter are a “mixed bag.” While some of Elliott Management’s ideas make sense in line with AT&T’s strategy to assemble a telecom-media-entertainment powerhouse, others fall short of that goal, Stephenson said at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference. “We think a company that can put together premium media, content creation, and production with networks would have a significant strategic advantage,” he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. Stephenson walked a fine line in trying to balance the outlook for its $67 billion acquisition of DirecTV in 2015, and its $85 billion Time Warner acquisition in 2018. The “old world” ...