AT&T Cancels $4B Stock Buyback Deal Amid Virus Crisis, Says Impact "Could Be Material"

Win McNamee/Getty Images

"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."

WarnerMedia owner AT&T is canceling planned stock buybacks to maintain its financial flexibility amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The telecommunications giant, led by chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson, earlier this month unveiled an accelerated share repurchase agreement with Morgan Stanley to buy back $4 billion of its stock during the second quarter.

"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 regulatory filing on Friday. "These continued investments will help ensure the company is well positioned when the pandemic passes and economies begin to recover."

Similar to the Walt Disney Co. on Thursday, AT&T said it was difficult at this stage to quantify the financial fallout from the pandemic and didn't provide any estimates for its impact.

"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," the company said. "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. These factors could result in increased or decreased demand for our products and services and impact our ability to serve customers."