AT&T positive aspects three% after earnings beat, sturdy steerage

AT&T downtown LA

AT&T downtown LA

AT&T, which is about six weeks away from an epic clash with antitrust regulators, reported fourth-quarter results today that exceeded Wall Street expectations. Revenue reached $41.68 billion versus an expected $41.19 billion. All in all, the company added 4.1 million wireless customers for the period. Last year, AT&T disclosed that the merger deadline has been shifted to June 21, 2018, after both AT&T and Time Warner waived their rights to terminate the deal by the previous deadline set for April 22, 2018.

AT&T said it added 4.1 million wireless customers in the fourth quarter, with 2.7 million from the USA and almost 1.3 million from Mexico.

The company said it expects its 2018 effective tax rate to be about 23 percent. AT&T's wireless cancellation rate was 0.89 percent, its best ever in the fourth quarter.

"The impact of tax reform and regulatory rationalization will be substantial and positive for the US economy and AT&T", Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. The company also said it plans to spend an additional $1 billion in the United States after the recent tax overhaul.

The $1.5 trillion tax cuts that the government passed last month is beginning to look great for companies like AT&T or Verizon, which had a bunch of deferred taxes on their books. AT&T said in its annual report of 2016 that it had an effective tax rate of 32.7%.

Dallas-based AT&T said Wednesday that it'll debut a small streaming device that allows customers to login into Netflix, DirecTV Now or another service to watch their favorite shows on their home TVs.

"With 50 years of legal precedent, it's the type of business combination that the government has consistently approved with appropriate conditions", he said.

Many observers have been shocked by the DOJ's abrupt opposition to the deal, which is a vertical merger of largely distribution assets (AT&T) with content (Time Warner) and was on the verge of final approval.

AT&T is slated to make its case for the merger on March 19.

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