(Reuters) — AT&T Inc. has agreed to pay a $6.25 million penalty to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit accusing the phone company of selectively leaking financial information to Wall Street analysts, the SEC said in a court application.
Three executives of the company — Christopher Womack, Kent Evans and Michael Black — who the SEC alleged were involved in violating Regulation FD, or fair disclosure, also agreed to each pay a $25,000 penalty without admitting or denying the supervisory authority’s accusations, the report states.
“We are committed to complying with all applicable laws and are pleased to have reached a settlement with the SEC. With this settlement, the company and its employees neither admitted nor denied the SEC̵7;s allegations,” AT&T told Reuters in an emailed statement.
In a March 2021 lawsuit, the SEC accused Dallas-based AT&T and three investor relations executives of leaking details about its smartphone business to 20 companies.
AT&T’s goal, the SEC alleged, was to “manipulate” these analysts and get them to lower their earnings forecasts, so that actual results would meet the lowered forecasts and not disappoint investors who might otherwise drive down the stock price.