AT&T climbs amid reports it’s looking to part ways with DirecTV

Shares of AT&T rose more than 1% in early trading Thursday on a report the company is looking to part ways with DirecTV just four years after shelling out $US49 billion for the satellite provider.

The company is mulling a spinoff of DirecTV into a separate public company, or a merger of its assets with satellite competitor Dish Network, according to the Wall Street Journal. AT&T could also decided to keep DirecTV, the report found.

The news come less than two weeks after activist hedge fund Elliott Management announced a $US3.2 billion stake in AT&T and said the company should consider selling assets such as DirecTV. Elliott described AT&T’s previous mergers as damaging to the firm’s overall business.

A group of investors also filed a lawsuit against AT&T earlier this week claiming the company created fake DirecTV accounts to boost subscriber numbers ahead of its $US85 billion Time Warner deal.

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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson championed the DirecTV deal in 2015 as a way for the company to expand further into the media industry. Stephenson doubled-down on that effort in 2018 by completing the company’s acquisition of Time Warner.

Shares of AT&T are up 28.8% year-to-date through Wednesday’s close.

AT&T stock