Asking for a higher bid but giving Comcast some time, AT&T's board of directors unanimously rejected Comcast's $58 billion bid for the telco's cable division, but also delayed a shareholder vote on the creation of an AT&T Broadband tracking stock.
The delay gives Comcast time to structure a new offer and, to a lesser degree, gives AT&T more time to find a rival bidder. AT&T sent a letter to Comcast Wednesday afternoon saying that "the board determined that Comcast's proposal did not reflect the full value of AT&T Broadband."
The company also reiterated concerns about Comcast's management structure in which the Roberts family's supervoting stock would give it 45% of the shareholder votes despite holding just 1% of the company's equity. The board did order AT&T management to explore "financial and strategic alternatives" and delay indefinitely the planned August sharehodler vote on creating a tracking stock.
Comcast President Brian Roberts responded with a prepared statement saying that "we disagree with the AT&T Board's characterization of our offer as inadequate. Since our announcement, AT&T shareholders have responded to our proposal by adding over $14 billion in market valuation to AT&T."
Of course, that's in part from bets that higher bids and a bidding war will follow. - John M. Higgins