After days of contemplation, Jim Cramer has officially affixed the current and former heads of AT&T into the “Mad Money” Wall of Shame.
“Randall Stephenson and John Stankey, welcome to the Wall of Shame,” the CNBC host said Thursday, days after the telecom giant announced it’s separating from WarnerMedia. “Thanks for nothing.”
The entertainment company is merging with Discovery three years after AT&T, then under Stephenson’s leadership, acquired Time Warner in an $85 billion deal.
“When rich people question why their taxes are going up, when they wonder why they’ve gotten so unpopular, I want them to look at these two names,” Cramer said. “They are powerful, tough people who’ll defend their actions to the end… but there’s no defense against stupidity or depraved indifference.”
Cramer, earlier this week slammed the Time Warner acquisition as “one of the dumbest mergers in recent history,” even contemplated placing the Dallas-based company’s entire board of directors on the wall of shame. He urged them to reduce retirement pay to Stephenson, who stepped down with a $64 million package last year.
Most upsetting about the spin-off and subsequent share price decline is that it harmed dividend-minded investors, he said. The company, which sported a 7% dividend as of Thursday, said it would “resize” its payout to shareholders after the deal closes.
“People who own AT&T aren’t chasing growth — they’re widows, orphans and grannies who need income,” Cramer said. “They’re the least short-term, most long-term and most trusting investors you could ask for.”
AT&T shares bounced on Thursday after falling for three straight days. The stock price fell 10% by Wednesday after the merger was announced.
The stock climbed 2.35% to $29.64 on Thursday, giving AT&T a market value of about $211 billion.