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Shammo: Strike Will Drive Negative Broadband Sub Results in Q2

The six-week long strike at Verizon Communications will drive broadband subscribers into negative territory in the second quarter, chief financial officer Fran Shammo said at an industry conference Tuesday.

About 46,000 Verizon wireline employees went on strike on April 13 over pay and healthcare issues. The walk-out lasted about six weeks, with the unions involved and Verizon management agreeing to a tentative pact in May. The contract still needs to be ratified by the rank and file, which is expected on June 17.

At the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Technology, Media & Telecom conference in London on Tuesday, Shammo said that because most of the striking employees were in maintenance and installation units, new service installations were drastically reduced during the work stoppage.

“Net additions of wireline will be negative for the quarter,” Shammo said. “Our employees will be back to work, we're doing installations for the month of June, so I don't actually know the exact number that we'll end in the quarter because now we're in catch-up mode. Because we did have a pipeline built during the strike, it's a matter of how much we can get to that pipeline, but I would expect broadband [additions] to be negative.”

Shammo wouldn’t comment directly on a report in the Wall Street Journal that Verizon was readying a $3 billion second round bid for Yahoo’s web assets, but said that the company has embarked on a mobile-first strategy with its purchase of AOL last year and the launch of its go90 free mobile video service.

Shammo said in the next three-to-six months, Verizon intends to “cross pollinate” its products, including integrating go90 and AOL to help it broaden viewership.

“When you get down to it, viewership matters because viewership drives advertising dollars, which drives the top line revenue,” Shammo said. “Yahoo has viewership. We’ll see whether we do move forward or we don’t move forward.”