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AT&T To Retire $4 Bln Of Common Stock

AT&T said it will retire $4 billion of its common stock. The two accelerated share repurchase ASRs are expected to bring total common shares retired in 2020 to more than 250 million through April.

The company chief financial officer John Stephens told an investors conference that the recent addition of preferred equity to its capital structure has been well received. AT&T will also continue to retire debt with the goal of a net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA ratio in the 2.0x to 2.25x range by the end of 2022.

Stephens briefly discussed AT&T's reaction to the coronavirus. He said the company is focused on its employees and customers and has taken precautions to help protect their health and safety.

He also said the company is applying lessons learned from network disaster recovery efforts in coordinating with the authorities on the response to the virus.

Stephens said that while he can't speak on behalf of any specific supplier, the company hasn't seen a significant impact in its supply chain at this point.

AT&T expects the successful launch of AT&T TV will drive store traffic in addition to bundling opportunities. HBO Max is also a key part of AT&T's strategy; it will enable the company to pair unique premium video content with wireless, pay TV and broadband.

Stephens stated that he expects bundling opportunities will also increase Unlimited plan adoption, with 5G initially available only on AT&T's upper tier Unlimited plans.

Stephens said the company expects AT&T TV to be an important part of AT&T's portfolio of services in 2020.He also said that AT&T's initial focus for the HBO Max streaming platform will be on the domestic launch and securing uptake among existing HBO customers and then expanding to other customers, including via attractive bundling offers.

Stephens noted that AT&T has a significant opportunity to grow penetration in its fiber footprint, both with consumers and businesses. The company has seen significantly better bundling rates for broadband with AT&T TV.

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