AT&T and Verizon have booked major gains thanks to the reduction in tax rates delivered by the reform bill passed last year by the Trump administration. The two giants were able to cut their deferred tax liabilities by billions of dollars, allowing AT&T to record a $19.04 billion profit in the fourth quarter, and Verizon to record a $16.8 billion gain.
Drew FitzGerald reports:
The corporate-tax overhaul, a long-held goal for Chief Executive Randall Stephenson, helped AT&T book a $19 billion profit in the fourth quarter, though its revenue slipped 0.4%.
The wireless business surprised analysts by gaining 329,000 postpaid phone customers in the latest quarter, adding to AT&T’s most valuable demographic after years of declines. The company ended the year with 141.6 million domestic wireless subscribers as it also added more customers on prepaid plans.
The satellite-television business lost 147,000 subscribers during the fourth quarter, while the U-verse fiber-optic service lost 60,000 video customers. But the company’s streaming video service, DirecTV Now, netted 368,000 new customers.
Shares of the company rose 2.5% after hours.
The company’s performance has been overshadowed by its fight with U.S. antitrust regulators to acquire Time Warner Inc. TWX +1.56% and its stable of entertainment properties, including CNN, HBO and Warner Bros. A trial is set to start March 19 and Mr. Stephenson said Wednesday that “we remain very confident that we’ll complete this merger.”
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