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AT&T earnings: 66 cents per share adjusted, in line with analyst expectations

AT&T reported quarterly earnings Wednesday that were roughly in line with analysts' expectations.

The company posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 66 cents on revenue of $41.8 billion — a slight drop from $42.1 billion in sales during the year-earlier quarter. Analysts had expected AT&T to report earnings of 66 cents a share on $42.04 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates. The company posted adjusted profit per share of 63 cent a share in the year-earlier quarter.

The stock initially dropped about 1 percent in after-hours trading, but quickly recovered that decline. It was last slightly higher.

AT&T said it added 200,000 paid subscribers to its DirecTV Now streaming service during the fourth quarter. The company released that figure last week in a batch of preliminary numbers. Analysts said at the time the news marked a strong start for the service, sending shares higher.

Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement that 2016 was a "transformational year," during which the company "made tremendous progress toward [its] goal of becoming the global leader in telecom, media and technology."

Stephenson also called the company's deal to acquire Time Warner "the logical next step in our strategy to bring together world-class content with best-in-class distribution which will drive innovation and more choice for consumers."

In October, AT&T reached an agreement to buy Time Warner for more than $85 billion. Stephenson told CNBC shortly after the announcement that the deal is "pure vertical integration."

"The world of distribution and content is converging and we need to move fast and if we want to do something truly unique, begin to curate content differently, begin to format content differently for these mobile environments, and this is all about mobility," he said on "Squawk Box."

But news of the deal was met with scrutiny.

Earlier Wednesday, Reuters reported that Democratic Sens. Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey and nine others urged AT&T and Time Warner in a letter to submit a public interest statement to them by Feb. 17 that would be required as part of an FCC review "detailing how you plan to ensure that the transaction benefits consumers, promotes competition, remedies all potential harms and further serves the public interest."

President Donald Trump said at an October rally that he opposed the deal, saying "it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few." Heads of both companies were grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel.

Earlier this month, Stephenson met with Trump, but said he did not discuss the proposed merger. The two instead focused on how the company "can work with the Trump administration to increase investment in the U.S., stimulate job creation in America and make American companies more competitive globally," Stephenson said in a statement after the meeting.

— CNBC's Matt Belvedere and Reuters contributed to this report.