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Sunday, April 18, 2021

AT&T fourth-quarter profit surges with big tax windfall

DALLAS (AP) — AT&T Inc. on Wednesday reported that its net income soared in the fourth quarter due to benefits from the government tax overhaul and strong wireless-plan growth.

The Dallas company is the country’s No. 2 wireless carrier and the owner of satellite TV provider DirecTV. It wants to buy HBO and CNN owner Time Warner as it ramps up its entertainment business. The government has sued to block that deal.

AT&T reported earnings of $19.04 billion, or $3.08 per share. That included a $20.42 billion tax windfall and was up from $2.44 billion, or 39 cents a share a year earlier.

Adjusted for benefits related to the tax law and reassessing deferred tax liabilities, plus other one-time benefits and costs, net income totaled 78 cents per share.

That was well above analyst expectations of 65 cents per share, according to FactSet. Revenue edged down less than 1 percent to $41.68 billion, just above expectations of $41.2 billion.

Wireless customers on “postpaid” plans, or phone and tablet users who pay a bill each month, rose by 541,000. TV customers rose by 161,000. Home broadband customers rose by 19,000.

AT&T’s stock was up $1.25 or, 3 percent, to $38.70 in after-hours trading following the earnings report.

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