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AT&T Gains on $4 Billion Stock Buyback Plan, 2020 Guidance

AT&T rises after the company announces a $4 billion stock buyback plan and reiterates achieving its 2020 and long-term guidance.

Shares of telecom giant AT&T  (T) - Get Report rose Wednesday after the company announced it was buying back an additional $4 billion in stock over the next three years, and said it was confident in achieving its 2020 and long-term guidance.

AT&T shares were up 2.34% at $37.14 in morning trading on Wednesday after the company revealed its share-buyback plan and positive forecast, and also identified 10 categories of cost-saving initiatives over the next three years.

Speaking at Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media and Telecom Conference on Tuesday, AT&T Chief Operating Officer and Warner Media CEO John Stankey said the company plans to have nationwide 5G coverage by the end of the second quarter.

As of the end of February, AT&T's 5G network covers more than 80 million people.

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Stankey also said the ongoing rollout and adaptation of 5G combined with HBO Max content will continue to be the main driver of revenue growth and profitability for the company. AT&T expects wireless service revenue to grow by more than 2% in 2020.

Further, Stankey said AT&T is still on track for a May launch of HBO Max. At the time of launch, more than 10 million HBO subscribers on AT&T distribution platforms will get immediate access to HBO Max. 

AT&T announced that it was launching the service last July.

The company also said it intends to use 50%-70% of free cash flow after dividends to retire about 70% of the shares it issued to fund the acquisition of Time Warner - now WarnerMedia - by the end of 2022.

Analysts polled by FactSet currently expect AT&T to post full-year 2020 earnings of $3.61 a share on revenue of $182 billion. The company will report its first-quarter results on April 22. Analysts polled by FactSet are looking for per-share earnings of 87 cents on revenue of $44.7 billion.