Verizon Looks to Cut $10 Billion in Costs by 2021

By Ryan Knutson Features Dow Jones Newswires

Verizon Communications Inc. is planning to cut $10 billion in spending from its operations over the next four years, the company's CEO told investors on Thursday.

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The carrier plans to deploy an aggressive cost-cutting technique known as zero-based budgeting, something more common in the packaged-food and consumer-products industries. The idea is that all business units must start with a clean sheet of paper each year and justify the money they want to spend, rather than basing it off of the previous year's spending.

In 2016, Verizon had about $126 billion in revenue and $99 billion in operating expenses.

A Verizon spokesman said the cuts will come evenly across the business and not from one specific area.

Sprint Corp. also used zero-based budgeting during a major cost-cutting effort in recent years.

Verizon, the nation's largest wireless carrier by subscribers, has been forced to slash prices and offer unlimited data plans in the face of increasing competition from rivals. Those measures have hurt revenue. Its landline phone and internet business also suffers from cord-cutting.

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Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, speaking at a Goldman Sachs investor conference Thursday, also said he is no longer looking at acquiring a cable company, although the company considered such a deal about a year ago. The Wall Street Journal reported in January the carrier had explored a deal with Charter Communications Inc.

Mr. McAdam said Verizon is looking for deep fiber assets to help its 5G buildout, and cable doesn't have that. "We've moved on," he said. Now, the company is building much of its own fiber optic cables around cities and acquiring assets from small providers in order to help with wireless capacity.

Write to Ryan Knutson at ryan.knutson@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 14, 2017 11:41 ET (15:41 GMT)