Verizon Communications will not report third quarter earnings until Oct. 27, but Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, speaking at the Dow Jones-Nielsen Money and Media Conference this week, took an optimistic stance on the economy--or at least the strength of telcos amid economic difficulty--rather than stressing caution.
Seidenberg didn't dispute that lower consumer spending and more disconnections may occur. But he maintained it would be a temporary condition, and that those same customers would return to their spending ways again. Is he really trying to prepare us for a soft earnings report by telling us ahead of time not to worry?
He also said the telecom industry is not having the "liquidity issues" seen in other industries, and that companies in general need to quit worrying about the economy and keep re-investing in creating a "competitive edge" for America.
Aside from these comments, Seidenberg also addressed what he said was a common question: Will Verizon "go vertical" and acquire content or other types of properties, something for which its New York competitor Cablevision Systems is famous? Seidenberg joked, "If I could buy the Knicks and fix them, I would."
It may have been the comment of a true fan, but it was also a pretty good dig at Cablevision, owner of the New York Knicks basketball franchise, which this year will look to avoid its eighth straight losing season. Seidenberg's level-headed, but often playful, commentaries make him one of the favorite speakers among telco CEOs--though the competition may not be so tough to beat.
Seidenberg's 2007 compensation packaged reached $20.3 million
Third quarter earnings season is upon us