AT&T Settles Dispute With Cox Media Group

Telecom giant AT&T has settled its dispute with media company, Cox Media Group (CMG), and agreed on a multi-year retransmission consent deal to provide CMG-owned broadcast stations to AT&T’s video customers across the country. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Per AT&T’s (T) retransmission consent deal, CMG’s 26 local broadcast stations will be deployed in 20 Nielsen designated markets across AT&T’s video platforms including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse services.

On Friday, The Times Standard reported that AT&T had offered to pay an undisclosed amount to CMG and its owner Apollo Global Management to settle the dispute.

On Jan. 27, AT&T reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. Its revenues of $45.7 billion exceeded the Street numbers of $44.5 billion. The company’s 4Q earnings of $0.75 per share came in ahead of analysts’ expectations of $0.73 per share. (See AT&T stock analysis on TipRanks)

Merrill Lynch analyst David Barden maintained a Buy rating and a price target of $36 (24.6% upside potential) on the stock, noting that the company’s upbeat 4Q results were driven by postpaid phone net additions and HBO Max momentum.

Looking ahead, Barden believes that “adj. EBITDA could be slightly down Y/Y in 2021 as the company invests further in growth areas including fiber broadband and wireless subscriber growth. Another incremental cost will relate to the shutdown of the 3G network.”

The analyst added, “AT&T expects to build fiber to 2m residential locations, which should help drive incremental revenue.”

Overall, the Street has a Hold consensus rating based on 6 Holds, 5 Buys, and 2 Sells. The average analyst price target of $31.67 implies upside potential of about 9.5% to current levels. Shares have declined by about 17.5% over the past year.

Meanwhile, TipRanks’ stock investors tool shows that investors currently have a Very Negative stance on AT&T.

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