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AT&T Q1 Earnings Fail to Meet Wall Street Expectations

Shares fell more than 4 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday

AT&T reported first-quarter earnings on Wednesday that were just below Wall Street expectations.

The telecommunications company said in its quarterly filing that earnings per share were 85 cents, which was just below analysts’ consensus expectations of 87 cents per share, according to forecasts on Yahoo Finance. The earnings were up 15 percent compared with the 74 cents per-share earnings the company reported for the same quarter a year ago.

Revenue for the first quarter was $38 billion, below the $39.3 billion analysts on Wall Street projected. AT&T’s revenue was down compared with the $39.4 billion it reported a year ago.

AT&T shares fell more than 4 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

The company said that total wireless subscriptions were up 8.9 percent to 159.5 million customers, while total video subscribers fell slightly to 38.97 million from 39.08 million a year ago.

AT&T’s DIRECTV Now TV streaming service added 312,000 new subscribers during the quarter. The platform is nearing 1.5 million subscribers, the company said.

Chief Financial Officer John  Stephens told analysts during the company’s quarterly earnings call that the company has more video subscribers now than it did two years ago thanks to DIRECTV Now.

The company didn’t say much about the part of the business analysts and investors are undoubtedly most interested in — it’s proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

“Not sure I really need to update anyone on our ongoing bid to merge with Time Warner,” AT&T Chief Financial Officer John Stephens said during the company’s quarterly conference call with analysts and investors. “There’s not much more we can add at this point.”

Over the last several weeks AT&T has been arguing its case against the U.S. Department of Justice’s attempt to block the merger. The DOJ worries that a combined AT&T-Time Warner would allow the company to raise licensing fees and blackout pay-TV operators in the midst of negotiations.

Both the DOJ and AT&T-Time Warner have wrapped up their arguments in DC District Court. All that’s left are closing arguments on April 30 followed by the decision of District Judge Richard Leon.

Depending on the Judge Leon’s decision, which experts say could go either way, AT&T said all the financing is in place and the company is ready to close the deal with Time Warner.