iStock

Shares of wireless telecommunications company CenturyLink Inc. (CTL - Get Report) dropped 13.06% Thursday to $12.78 after it slashed its dividend by more than half.

In its quarterly earnings announcement, CenturyLink said its board approved reducing the company's annual dividend to $1 from $2.16. The move will enable it to speed up repayment of its outstanding debt - to 2.75 to 3.25 times its net debt to adjusted earnings, the company said in a statement.

The dividend cut came alongside the company's earnings announcement, in which it reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of 37 cents a share, up from 18 cents in the comparable year-earlier period.

On an unadjusted basis, the company posted a loss of $2.41 billion, or $2.26 a share,  for the three-month period compared to profit of $1.13 billion, or $1.06 a share, a year earlier.

Revenue dropped 3.8% year over year to $5.78 billion in the fourth quarter from $6.01 billion for the fourth quarter 2017 on a pro-forma basis.

As of Dec. 31, CenturyLink's  long-term debt stood at $35.4 billion vs. approximately $20 billion of shareholder equity.

TheStreet's Jim Cramer said the moral of the CenturyLink story is this: Never reach for outsized yield, as there is a good chance you will get burned. Read more here.