Armstrong offers a deal primer


Is Mike Armstrong trying to show Brian Roberts how to get a deal done?

In a private audience with Wall Street executives last Tuesday, the AT&T chairman hinted at how Comcast might gain traction. Comcast President Roberts said he wants to halt expansion of AT&T's expensive cable-telephone efforts until cheaper technology emerges.

But Armstrong said that, in considering offers for the cable unit, AT&T's board would be looking for a buyer that would believe in all three elements of Armstrong's new product strategy: video, data and voice.

"They don't want to see improved numbers based on dismantling," said one participant in the meeting.
Another interpretation: "Armstrong wants to save face," said one media CEO. "Brian has to let him sell with as little embarrassment as possible."
- John M. Higgins