Skip to main content

Less than two months ago, Paul Singer let AT&T know all of the ways he thought it sucked: It sucked in the boardroom, where it really should have the CEO and chairman roles separated, and also a few Eliott Management representatives. It sucked in terms of strategy, and should both stop buying giant things, and un-buy several of the giant things it had already bought, like DirecTV, for instance. And, thanks in part to those things and other smaller areas of suckage, it sucked in the market, where it was trading for roughly half what it should be.

To combat these slings and arrows, AT&T hired the heavyweight when it comes to activist defense: Goldman Sachs. And Goldman, having reviewed the situation over the last several weeks, has apparently come to a conclusion, which may be thusly paraphrased: “JESUS CHRIST DO YOU REALIZE WHO YOU ARE DEALING WITH???!? DO YOU KNOW WHAT LENGTHS HE’LL GO?!??! DO YOU KNOW HE CARRIED ON A DECADE-LONG DIRTY WAR WITH A FREAKIN’ SOVEREIGN COUNTRY?!!?! MAKE HIM GO AWAY! DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAKE HIM GO AWAY!”

AT&T has wisely decided to accept the advice.

Elliott Management said AT&T has agreed to separate the CEO and chairman roles once Stephenson steps down….

AT&T also pledged not to make any more large acquisitions like WarnerMedia or DirecTV. Those deals cost tens of billions of dollars and made AT&T one of the world's most highly leveraged companies. It is actively working to pay down its enormous debt load.

Elliott added that AT&T has committed to "the addition of two new skilled directors…."

AT&T also agreed to meet certain profit targets, including earning $4.50 to $4.80 per share by 2022. That's more than the $3.60 to $3.70 per share AT&T expects to earn next year.

So, no big breakup, yet (let’s see what those skilled directors have to say when they arrive), but pretty much everything else. Paul Singer certainly sounds pleased with himself.

We commend AT&T for the positive steps announced today, which will create substantial and enduring shareholder value at one of America’s greatest companies. We have worked closely and collaboratively with management and the Board on the initiatives announced today. It is clear to us that AT&T is committed to and accountable for creating shareholder value over the near- and long-term.

Big changes are coming to AT&T after shareholder battle [CNN]
Elliott Management Supportive of AT&T Announcement [press release]



Paul Singer Decides That AT&T Needs His Always Unwelcome Advice

Everyone's least favorite activist investor is $3.2 billion certain that Ma Bell needs new leadership.


AT&T Already Playing Checkers With Dark Lord Of Chess Paul Singer

Goldman Sachs is great at bodyguarding against bullies, just ask their former head of activism defense...who works for Paul Singer as of four weeks ago.


Paul Singer’s Greatest Challenge: Making Warren Buffett Angry

And angry enough to cough up a few hundred million more bucks for a bankrupt energy company.


New York Lawmakers Want To Take Paul Singer’s Toys Away

If they get their way, no one will have the kind of fun Elliott had with Argentina.


Paul Singer Providing Crucial Diplomatic Guidance To State Department

Surely that’s worth a lavish meal on the taxpayer’s dime?


No, Paul Singer Isn’t Interested In Showing Mercy To Formerly Intransigent Opponent

Akzo Nobel had its chance to do this the easy way. Now, it will do it the Elliott way.


Paul Singer’s Still Got It

The hedge fund game's most talented Shade Queen is in fine form.