Washington/Dallas The US telecom giant AT&T is in legal trouble because of allegedly confidential corporate data that should have been passed on to Wall Street analysts before the publication of a quarterly report. The SEC filed a lawsuit against AT&T and three senior employees on Friday. The authority accuses them of having violated confidentiality obligations in order to dampen investor expectations with regard to the business figures.
Specifically, according to the SEC, it is about numbers on smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2016. The AT&T managers called analysts from around 20 financial companies and passed on internal data, whereupon they significantly lowered their forecasts. The so-called analyst consensus reflects the expectations of the financial market on the annual reports of listed companies. If it is exceeded or missed, it can move the stock price sharply.
AT&T did not directly deny the allegations in a statement, but denied that the information on smartphone sales had a significant impact on the quarterly results. The phone calls with the analysts were about buying incentive programs that were running out across the industry and were already known to the public. The SEC lawsuit represents a clear departure from the agency’s longstanding regulatory guidelines, the company said.
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