AT&T plans to cut spending by $1.5 Billion in 2020.
In a recent presentation at the UBS Global TMT Conference, AT&T President John Stankey said the company plans to cut spending by $1.5 billion next year via reductions in labor.
President Stankey also said, according to Eric J. Savitz on Barron’s, that AT&T plans a $4 billion accelerated share repurchase program in the first quarter of 2020 that will reduce its share count by about 100 million shares. The company has 7.3 billion shares outstanding. These moves, according to Business Insider, will contribute to AT&T’s ongoing three-year plan to reduce what has become unwieldy debt following the Time Warner acquisition. In early 2019, AT&T held over $160 billion in debt, resulting in large part from the costly acquisition of Time Warner and DirectTV. Alongside the cost-cutting announcement, AT&T said it expects that, by 2022, it can retire 100% of the debt it incurred to acquire Time Warner.
Barron’s reported that the AT&T President emphasized that AT&T plans to keep investing while also continuing “modest annual dividend growth.” He said that by the end of 2022, AT&T expects to have retired all of the debt incurrent to fund the $85 billion Time Warner acquisition in 2018. AT&T said it is targeting a ratio of net debt to adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization in the range of 2 to 2.25 times—a shift the company believes will result in a higher debt rating.
The company also said it continues to review its portfolio to achieve its target of monetizing $5 billion to $10 billion of assets in 2020.