AT&T (T) - Get Report on Wednesday posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and overall revenue as wireless and broadband network growth offset a drop in revenue in its WarnerMedia unit - even as it took a big charge related to cord-cutting consumers.
AT&T said adjusted earnings for the three months ended in December were 75 cents a share, vs. 89 cents a year earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting per-share earnings of 73 cents.
At the same time, AT&T booked a $15.5 billion charge on its pay-TV business, reflecting a shift in consumers away from plugged-in cable and satellite content, including its DirecTV offering.
The write-down resulted in a fourth-quarter loss of $13.89 billion, or $1.95 a share, compared with a profit of $2.39 billion, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue slipped 2.4% to $45.69 billion, down from $44.58 billion a year ago.
For 2021, AT&T said it expects adjusted per-share earnings to be "stable," with consolidated revenue growth "in the 1% range" and a full-year total dividend payout ratio "in the high 50’s range."