AT&T CEO Says Selling Towers Will Help Pay Down Debt

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Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, told investors the carrier may soon divest itself of AT&T’s 5,600 tower inventory to continue to pay down debt following the acquisition of Time Warner. Stephenson made the comments at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York where he discussed the company’s strategy going forward in 2019. 

AT&T has paid down $9 billion in net debt in the first half of 2019, reducing its net debt by $18 billion since the acquisition was completed. 

The company, in a recent quarterly statement, increased its full-year free cash flow target by $2 billion to $28 billion in an effort to reduce its net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA ratio to the 2.5x range by the end of 2019. 

Stephenson cited increases in demand for connectivity and bandwidth as a growing trend where the carrier would like to focus their assets. A direct path to the consumer, he said, gives AT&T a competitive advantage now that it’s a content provider. 

The combination of WarnerMedia’s content, along with AT&T’s distribution network of 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships plus 5,500 retail stores, is a driving factor in the 2019-and-beyond strategy. The company founded Xandr a year ago, an advertising company designed to exploit Warner’s ad inventory, Stephenson went on to say that the combination of WarnerMedia’s massive ad inventory with the data provided by AT&T’s large-scale networks offers a significant additional value opportunity, which drove the creation of Xandr. 

September 19, 2019

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