Oct 9, 2019

AT&T sells off assets in the Caribbean

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

As pressure mounts from an activist investor, AT&T said Wednesday it will sell its wireless and wired assets in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for about $2 billion to Liberty Latin America.

Why it matters: AT&T is looking for assets to sell to alleviate debt, and analysts say the properties in the hurricane-prone islands are a logical target.

  • “Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are small markets that aren’t contiguous with the rest of AT&T’s properties, they’re not big enterprise opportunities, and they’ve been whacked by hurricanes,” said Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with New Street Research.

The big picture: The company is feeling the heat after a letter from Elliott Management criticizing AT&T’s strategy and its past acquisitions.

  • AT&T said in the announcement that it would sell $6 billion to $8 billion worth of assets this year, but this deal puts the total at $11 billion.

Yes, but: “They might have surpassed their own goal. They have probably not surpassed Elliott’s goal,” said Roger Entner, founder of Recon Analytics. “And they still have to work around that. Elliott is certainly looming here in the background.”

What's next: Analysts say to expect AT&T to divest more assets as it tries to stay ahead of the pressure.

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AT&T signals ceasefire with activist investor

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

AT&T on Monday agreed to make major changes after a six-week standoff with activist investor Elliott Management.

The big picture: Current AT&T management stays, at least for now, but only after promising to boost buybacks, committing to lofty earnings targets, and promising to find someone new to run its media unit.

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019

Media streamers wrestle with high debt loads

Data: Moody's; Chart: Axios Visuals

Streaming companies are accruing more debt to sustain heavy investments in content, and their leverage is historically high.

Why it matters: While most analysts agree that the debt loads at these companies are manageable for now, some firms are beginning to feel investor pressure to manage rising debt before it gets out of hand.

Go deeperArrowOct 15, 2019

Real estate firm Howard Hughes to sell $2 billion in non-core assets

Bill Ackman in 2017. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Howard Hughes, a real estate development firm with a market cap of $5.5 billion, said it will sell around $2 billion of non-core assets following a strategic review that also resulted in a CEO change and planned headquarters move from Dallas to Houston.

Why it matters: There had been widespread expectation that the Bill Ackman-chaired company would seek a buyer for the entire company, possibly as a take-private.

Go deeperArrowOct 22, 2019