AT&T shares are down more than 2% in pre-market trading after it dumped a lot of bad news into a 4Q report that includes costs tied to the collapse of its $39B effort to acquire T-Mobile. The phone giant ended the period with a $6.7B net loss, down from a $1.1B profit in the same quarter last year, on revenues of $32.5B, up 3.6%. The revenue figure slightly beat the $32B that analysts expected. But even after excluding several one-time expenses, including those tied to the T-Mobile deal, earnings would have come in at 42 cents a share — a penny shy of the 43 cents that the Street expected. AT&T had to report a $1.12 a share loss, though: T-Mobile cost $4.2B. The company also took a $6.3B charge for actuarial losses from its benefit plans, and a $2.9B asset impairment charge for its directory business. In addition to the unusual items, AT&T lost about 1.1M phone wireline customers to end the year with 39M. The news wasn’t all bleak. AT&T says that it added 208,000 U-verse video customers, bringing its total to 3.8M. It also was a record quarter for smartphone sales. CEO Randall Stephenson says that AT&T starts the year “with the best visibility we’ve had in some time, and we’re well positioned to deliver solid results.” He added the magic words that shareholders of companies like his long to hear: “In short order, we will begin share repurchases to deliver significant value to our owners.”
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