Very special…

March 21, 2005

While I realize that I’m a bit late in dissecting the filing from the pending merger between SBC and AT&T which came out a week ago Friday, it’s mostly because I’ve been awed with their creativity. In the 248 page document, the word bonus appears more than 60 times. The big headline from the filing, which was naturally filed late on a Friday when all the best stuff finds its way to the SEC, was the booty AT&T execs will walk away with post-merger. But the bounty of bonuses paid to AT&T executives in 2004 is also very impressive. In particular, William Hannigan, who was hired by AT&T in December 2003 as its president is very special in AT&T’s eyes, judging by the number of ways the company came up with to pad his wallet in 2004: Hannigan got a $710,000 special signing bonus, a $1 million hiring bonus, two special payments worth over $1 million, and a special one-time payment of $1.5 million — over $4.3 million in what the company describes as “all other compensation”. When he leaves the company post-merger, Hannigan stands to collect $6.4 million in severance. Doing some back-of-the-envelope math, that works out to close to $15 million for less than two years on the job. Too bad AT&T shareholders haven’t fared quite as well.

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