Raymond James has lowered its profit estimates of telecom giant AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), which is facing several regulatory roadblocks in its $39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Telekom.
On Monday, AT&T agreed to postpone an antitrust lawsuit that would decide the fate of the merger. The latest move from AT&T, which should win this lawsuit if it wants to proceed the transaction as other options faded, implies that the chances of regulatory clearance for the deal appears slim and could potentially kill the deal.
The brokerage, which has a market perform rating on AT&T stock, cut his 2011 revenue and earnings estimates to $125.98 billion and $2.25 a share, respectively. Wall Street expects the company to earn $2.32 a share on revenue of $126.11 billion.
Due to the large subsidies on this particular smartphone, we are lowering our wireless margin estimate, and also back loading the quarter from a service revenue standpoint. We are adjusting our estimates to factor a record quarter of iPhone sales, analyst Frank Louthan wrote in a note to clients.
AT&T announced it is on track for record iPhone sales for the quarter, with 6 million sold through November, only 100,000 shy of its previous quarter record of 6.1 million. The analyst believes AT&T will easily surpass this total with the upcoming holidays, and believe the total quarter of iPhone sales to be greater than 7 million.
We continue to expect AT&T to remain relatively range bound and a safer place to hide in a volatile market, although we believe recent news does not bode well for the company's hopes of acquiring T-Mobile USA, said Louthan.
Shares of AT&T closed Monday's regular trading session at $29.01 on the New York Stock Exchange.