WarnerMedia parent A&T said Tuesday it's set up a new $5.5 billion loan agreement at competitive rates with 12 banks to provide additional financial flexibility to its “already strong cash position.” The loans are pre-payable without penalty, it said as it seeks to reassure the markets and employees that it’s on solid ground in uncertain times.
AT&T also noted that it has access to a fully committed $15 billion revolver loan already in place that it has no need or plans to draw on in 2020 – but it’s there in case. AT&T is the latest big media company to flesh out its cash cushion to hedge against the economic risks and unknowns of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the company also offered a financial update, ticking off its points of financial strength, including a strong balance sheet and attractive liquidity. It said it had about $12 billion in cash on hand as of Dec. 31 and received about $4 billion from selling preferred stock in February. It also completed a share repurchase in March but has nowstopped all share repurchases.
Going forward, the company, which plans to roll out HBO Max next moth, said it expects the following to put it in a good place: • The strength and relevance of core subscription businesses, continued execution on business transformation initiatives, and sizing operations to economic activity will provide cash from operations that will support network investments, dividend payments and debt retirement, as well as the ability to invest in business opportunities that arise as the economies recover. • About $2 billion from the expected closing later in 2020 from the previously announced divestiture of CME, as well as additional proceeds from a number of other real estate and tower sales. • The company expects to close the sale of its Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands operations later this year and intends to use the proceeds to retire an outstanding preferred interest. • Continued access to commercial paper, bond markets and other financing activities which, as in the past, will be utilized as part of normal financing activity based on cost, duration and overall market conditions. • As it has for the past 36 years, the company will pay a quarterly dividend to shareholders. .
AT&T also added that its pension fund requires no cash in the near term and it doesn't expect any required contributions through 2022. The plan has allocated substantially all of the remaining assets to fixed income, preferred securities and other investments which have returns much less impacted by current equity markets.
It also emphasized that it believes its exposure to near term equipment shortages is limited given a geographically diverse supply chain.
The 60th anniversary edition, set for June 15-20, will instead take place June 14-19, 2021.
The Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and its associated market, has been called off this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 edition, set to be Annecy's 60th anniversary, was scheduled to run June 15-20. Instead, the event will be held June 14-19, 2021.
Organizers made the announcement "with tremendous disappointment" Tuesday.
"Over the past few weeks, driven by our passion and our enthusiasm, despite the confinement constraints we were nevertheless hoping to maintain the exceptional edition that we had in store for you," they said in a statement. "But today, the rationale and the international situation compel us to act with lucidity and responsibility. To show our respect and our deep gratitude to the health care providers, as well as all those who choose solidarity and the public interest."
Calling the Annecy festival "a party, a family gathering," organizers said they could not bring themselves "to celebrate animation and our 60th anniversary when some amongst you would not be able to attend."
Pushing the festival to a later date this year was not possible, Annecy said, because of other events on the industry calendar. The 2020 Cannes Film Festival, which has been postponed, is eyeing a possible alternative date in late June or early July.
Annecy still plans to unveil its official selections for the 60th anniversary festival April 15, though the films won't be screened until next year. On April 15, organizers said, they will also announce details for industry attendees.
Annecy is the world's number one festival for animated film and has become a favorite event for studios and independents to launch new projects or kick off global marketing campaigns. At last year's festival, Disney screened the first footage of Frozen 2 and Netflix gave a sneak peek at images from several animated projects in development, including Ricky Gervais' The Willoughbys.
Source: Hollywood Reporter