How would you like to have your house on the market and the only promising bid you're getting is for half your asking price?
How would you like to be AT&T?
Comcast is offering nearly $45 billion dollars for AT&T’s cable business.
That might sound like a lot but it's less than half the $100 billion Ma Bell has spent buying all these cable systems.
Not surprisingly AT&T, like any shocked homeowner, is saying, "surely there's got to be a better offer out there."
The company itself thinks it has one. It's planning to spin off the cable unit into a separately traded stock. The problem is not everyone's convinced that plan will work or that it could fetch the value on its own that Comcast can give it today.
But it got me thinking. Imagine the alarm, dare I say panic, in the AT&T boardroom. They have to be thinking what we'd be thinking if something we held so dear wasn't so dearly held by others out there. And I think it has a chilling effect.
If you suddenly discover your home is worth half what you thought are you going to spend as much on that home? Probably not. Why pour good money after bad? In fact, you might retrench so much, that you start cutting back in other areas.
Forget about keeping up with the upkeep on the house. Forget about sealing that driveway or deck every spring. Who needs to keep after the lawn as much, or the garden as often? It really bums you out.
Now I'm wondering whether Ma Bell is similarly bummed? I don't know. But this much I do know. Its most prized possession, the jewel of its empire, is not what it thought it was. And when the home you love is no longer the castle you think, it makes you think. And for AT&T, it makes you worry.
And pray not for the bidder you dreaded, but at least another one you might not dread as much.
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