AT&T cancels $4 billion share repurchase due to coronavirus uncertainty

The company will instead use the funds to pay employees and make network investments.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

AT&T said Friday that it has cancelled a planned $4 billion stock buyback because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company will instead use the funds to pay employees and make network investments. 

"While our business continues to operate effectively during the Covid-19 global pandemic, we have decided at this time to cancel this [accelerated share repurchase] agreement and any other repurchases to maintain flexibility and focus on continued investment in serving our customers, taking care of our employees and enhancing our network, including nationwide 5G," the company said in a filing.

AT&T, a telecom, wireless and media conglomerate, announced the stock buyback plan earlier this month, noting that it would repurchase the shares over the next three years. AT&T also reiterated its 2020 and long-term guidance at the time.

The company is now telling investors that the coronavirus pandemic could impact results. 

"The Covid-19 pandemic has and will continue affecting economies and businesses around the world," the filing continued. "The impacts of the pandemic could be material, but due to the evolving nature of this situation, we are not able at this time to estimate the impact on our financial or operational results. Among the factors that could impact our results are: effectiveness of COVID-19 mitigation measures, global economic conditions, consumer spending, work from home trends, supply chain sustainability and other factors."

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