AT&T's Results Top Wall Street Views

By Maria Armental Features Dow Jones Newswires

AT&T Inc., the telecom giant that is reinventing itself as a media conglomerate, on Tuesday reported its third-straight quarterly revenue decline as it struggles to add -- and retain -- subscribers.

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Still, results beat Wall Street expectations, sending shares up 0.2% to $36.29 in extended trading.

AT&T, having lost ground to companies like T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. that lured customers away with unlimited offers, is hoping to move away from the lagging phone business by building out its media and entertainment business.

Already the biggest pay-television operator in the U.S. with its acquisition of satellite company DirecTV, AT&T is looking to add Time Warner to its fold, a pricey deal that would give the Dallas company such properties as CNN, HBO and the Warner Bros. film and TV studio.

Video subscribers, however, declined 199,000 in the most recent quarter, although company officials said that streaming service DirecTV Now, continues to pick up subscribers helping to stem the losses. In the latest period, AT&T said DirecTV Now added 152,000 subscribers.

Meanwhile, the Dallas-based company on Tuesday reported the lowest churn -- or monthly cancellation rate -- for mainstream phone customers, the most profitable and reliable.

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The results followed last week's quarterly report from T-Mobile US, which showed that the No. 3 domestic carrier had added 1.3 million subscribers in the latest period, including 786,000 postpaid phone subscribers.

Over all, second-quarter profit rose 15% to $3.92 billion, or 63 cents a share. Excluding merger and integration costs and other items, profit rose to 79 cents a share, from 72 cents a year earlier.

Revenue fell to $39.84 billion from $40.52 billion a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had projected 73 cents a share in adjusted profit and $39.79 billion in revenue.

As of June 30, AT&T had more than $25 billion in cash and more than $130 million in debt.

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 25, 2017 17:02 ET (21:02 GMT)