Failed T-Mobile buyout costs AT&T's CEO $2.1 million

Randall Stephenson takes hit to the wallet for $39 billion T-Mobile deal falling through

AT&T's failed bid to buy T-Mobile USA last year cost the company about $4.2 billion in break-up fees.

Now it's costing Chairman, President and CEO Randall Stephenson a couple mil.

The company's board of directors has voted to cut Stephenson's 2011 compensation by a whopping $2.08 million, leaving the telco executive with a mere $18.7 million, down from $20.2 million in 2010.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, AT&T said:

[T]he Committee considered the T-Mobile transaction costs in determining compensation payouts for Mr. Stephenson and the other Named Executive Officers, even though these costs qualify for exclusion per the terms of the grants. As a result, despite strong operational performance, Mr. Stephenson’s compensation was reduced by more than $2 million, including a 25% cut in his short-term award, a significant reduction in his payout percentage relative to other managers.

Note that AT&T is punishing Stephenson even though these (T-Mobile transaction) costs qualify for exclusion per the terms of the grants. Is there no fairness and justice for the 1%?

AT&T announced last March that it intended to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion. In ensuing months, AT&T tried every con in the book to persuade the public, politicians media and -- most importantly -- the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission that reducing the number of national carriers in the U.S. to three from four would somehow benefit consumers and spur innovation.

And yet they didn't listen to reason.

Finally, last December, after a final round of futile saber-rattling, AT&T faced reality, even though facing reality included paying more than $4 billion to Deutsche Telekom in cash and spectrum as a break-up penalty.

On top of the public humiliation of having his pay slashed, soon Stephenson may not be able to afford a personal smartphone. Unless he goes for Sprint's unlimited data plan. Remember, Randall, it's your right as an independent consumer to choose the option that works best for you and your budget. Don't let loyalty get in the way. (Loyalty, hah! Look what the other AT&T board members did to you! Maybe you should give them a little of this treatment!)

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