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Friday, December 6, 2013

AT&T aims to sidestep shareholder request on surveillance data, (NYSE: VZ)

AT&T has asked regulators to let it ignore a shareholder request for details of its customer-information sharing with government agencies, a move that could forestall a heated debate at the telecommunications giant's annual meeting. The No. 2 U.S. mobile operator made the request in a Dec. 5 letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in response to shareholder activists pressing it on the matter. Among them is New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who is the trustee of the state retirement fund.DiNapoli and other shareholders of AT&T and its biggest rival Verizon Communications Inc last month sought details on sharing of personal data and communications from the two companies following revelations from former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.The shareholders cited media reports of intelligence agencies' involvement with the companies and criticism from foreign leaders and others.The activists said the companies could lose credibility with customers and asked them to schedule a vote on a measure calling for the publication of semi-annual reports with details such as how often customer information was shared with U.S. or foreign government agencies, and what type of information was shared.

Verizon Communications Inc. (Verizon) is a holding company. Shares of VZ traded higher by 1.17% or $0.57/share to $49.48. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $41.50 and as high as $54.31. On average, 13193900 shares of VZ exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 11177161.