WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (TheStreet) -- Each and every time a company tries to pull a tarp over the news, it's big news. Extra big news. That's why The New York Times (NYT) - Get Report failed miserably in its Thanksgiving Day coverage of the AT&T (T) - Get ReportT-Mobile (DT) - Get Report merger, which is unspooling before our eyes.
On Thanksgiving morning, as we were trimming turkeys and preparing to nurse grievances against family members, AT&T released a whopper: it's going to take a $4 billion charge against earnings to cover possible deal breakup fees.
This is not good news. In fact, it is really bad news. How do we know? For one, AT&T needs something--anything--to compensate for the loss of
exclusivity, and they had high hopes in the merger. Also, we know it's a big, bad deal because AT&T tried to hide the news in the quiet of the holiday. The market was closed. Traders, tanked up on tryptophan, weren't even at the posts.
Yet, The New York Times--and most others--did not mention the timing of the news release. And the timing in this case is absolutely critical to how debilitating AT&T thinks the news is. Submit it for your disapproval: AT&T didn't even take this chance of releasing it today, Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, which is a traditional day to release bad news you hope traders overlook. But at least today is a real live trading day. Releasing big news on Thanksgiving? That's a real indicator...and one traders should not ignore, even if the business media, in their own holiday haze, did just that.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.
Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.
For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
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