AT&T Quarterly Sales Fall Short as Carrier Posts Results EarlyBy
Carrier added 212,000 monthly wireless users in third quarter
Earnings of 74 cents a share in line with analysts’ estimates
AT&T Inc., after announcing Saturday it is buying media giant Time Warner Inc. for $85.4 billion, posted third-quarter sales that missed analysts’ estimates as it contends with a maturing wireless market, putting the focus on its latest big acquisition to help drive growth.
Sales rose 4.6 percent to $40.8 billion, Dallas-based AT&T said in a statement Saturday night. Analysts projected $41.2 billion, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company added 212,000 monthly wireless customers, edging out the average 210,000 prediction. AT&T had been scheduled to report results on Tuesday but instead released them less than an hour after announcing its acquisition of Time Warner.
Profit excluding some items of 74 cents a share was in line with estimates.
As the wireless industry gets more saturated and consumers ditch traditional pay-TV for online alternatives, the results highlight why AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson has been looking to own content rather than just distribute it. With Time Warner it gains premium cable channel HBO, CNN, TV rights to professional basketball and the Cartoon Network, among other properties.
AT&T raised its quarterly dividend a penny to 49 cents a share, payable on Feb. 1 to shareholders of record as of next Jan. 10.
- The company added 323,000 satellite-TV subscribers and lost 326,000 from its U-verse product, for a net loss in the quarter of 3,000 video customers
- Phone-only postpaid average revenue per user decreased 1.9 percent compared with a year earlier.
- Postpaid churn, representing the share of customers who drop service, was 1.05 percent, compared with 1.16 percent in the year-ago quarter.
- AT&T said its full-year guidance is on track to meet or exceed expectations.