What does a 40 year old AT&T share become??

I recently had to close out a safety deposit box and found a 40 year old certificate for the original "Ma Bell" (American Telephone & Telegraph"
company.
I can turn it into my financial adviser/broker and let them figure it out, but I'm curious as to whether I can somehow figure out what that share has turned into (and what it is worth. We're talking the big breakup, more breakups, spin-offs, acquisitions, etc.... Also, I don't recall getting any dividends (at least in memory). What do I do???
--

Regards,
Hank Arnold
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Hi, Hank.
Congratulations! And condolences.
Just two days ago I answered a related question here (see: Corp. acquisition recording transactions question.) about AT&T's acquisition of BellSouth. In the process, I found this web page, which should lead you to what you need: http://www.att.com/gen/investor-relations?pidy83
Click the button under Cost Basis Worksheets for AT&T Corp. shares.
Oh, that it were really that simple! Since your certificate predates the 1984 breakup, you probably should start on this page: http://www.att.com/gen/investor-relations?pidy58
Note the subtle but very significant difference between "AT&T Inc." and "AT&T Corp." "Corp." was the 100+ year old company that went through the divestiture in 1984, then survived until 2005. "Inc." is the new name for the former Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC), which was spun off from Corp. in 1984, but then bought Corp. in 2005 and changed its own name from SBC to AT&T Inc. The "Corp." name disappeared in the 2005 transaction - but that was the company whose share certificate you now hold.
Your problem involves calculating the current basis of the AT&T Inc. shares represented by that certificate, of course. But you also must determine what happened to the shares of Ameritech, BellSouth, NYNEX, SBC, etc., that should have been received in 1984! None of those shares have been sold, obviously. Your one certificate now represents shares in all those former subsidiaries. But it gets worse, because each of those companies went through splits, spin-offs and mergers during the 23 years after 1/1/84. For example, your certificate represents ownership of some number of shares of Lucent, NCR, Comcast and many other corporations. The "basis" of each of those shares relates back to the basis in that original AT&T Corp. certificate, and the basis of that certificate today must be reduced by each of the spun-off securities.
If that certificate is for a million shares, you can afford to hire a pro to do all this. If it is for just one 1966 share, it probably is worth a lot today, but not enough to pay a pro, so you'll have to do it all yourself. But the same steps are required for one share as for a million. Maybe the accumulated dividends (including proceeds from sales of fractional shares) will make it worthwhile!
The good news is that there were millions of AT&T shareholders, and many of them were "widows and orphans" who had tucked away their shares and forgot about them. Old certificates still turn up fairly often, I suspect, and there probably are pros who make a career of helping people like yourself who get stuck with the problem. Ask your broker (not the young kid who went to work there last year, but the grey-haired old guy who has been there forever and is about to retire). Don't ask him to figure it out; just ask whom you should contact. I'm sure that AT&T itself has a crew that works full-time on these problems. That is the crew that works behind that web page.
If this share is part of the estate of a deceased person, your job may be cut in half. Inherited shares usually get a new tax basis and holding period based on their fair market value at the date of death of the owner. So you don't have to track down the original basis and do all the math to apportion it to today's holdings. But you do still need to gather up all the shares and fractional shares that should have been received over the years and value those at date of death. Then, if the death was not very recent, you will need to track developments since the death.
Good luck, Hank. And please let us know what you find out!
RC
--
R. C. White, CPA
San Marcos, TX
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Excellent input, RC.... Thanks for taking the time. The certificate is in my name (Care of my aunt) with my aunt's address. Since she's been dead fro almost 7 years and hadn't lived at that address fro over 25 years, I haven't a clue what happened to all the dividends....
I know what has expired in the time since the breakup. My mother in law gave my son a bunch of AT&T Corp socks and I've tracked them for the past 20+ years. We started with 1 stock, got around 10 and now have, I think, 3 (at&t, Verizon, Agere and the Idearc)... it's been a wild ride.....
I'll be sure to let you all know what happens.....
Regards, Hank Arnold
R. C. White wrote:

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P.S. In this regard, you need to also check your (and your Aunt's) home state ESCHEAT Depts. , as they may have captured those funds "in your (or her) name(s). Most states have these (if not all) and are there to "Protect" you (read that - steal those UNCLAIMED funds)! Found one from 40 years ago, in New York for $200.00-- and then cost me $50 to recover that money! such a deal! Try a google search for unclaimed funds in your state, as well as hers! Jim
Hank Arnold wrote:

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Good point... Thanks...
Regards, Hank Arnold
Jim - NN7K wrote:

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Most states should allow you to collect unclaimed funds without a fee. Fill out the forms and send the documentation....... Hank Arnold wrote:

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I found an asset on the Mass web site. It was "Henry F. Arnold" in Hyde Park, Mass. The address my aunt used was her address in Reading, Mass. I submitted a claim anyway, just in case, but mostly because my great grandfather, grandfather and uncle had that name (I'm "Frederick" and they were "Freeman").....
Regards, Hank Arnold
Oilcan wrote:

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Besides R.C. White's excellent response to you, don't forget that the physical share itself may have some value. There are people who like to collect that old paper the way people collect stamps, coins, etc. I am not a collector, and I know of this only peripherally. But you might want to do some internet searches on the subject of collecting shares.
I don't know if you will have to physically turn in your share, or if they can figure out what you own now and somehow cancel the share so that you can keep it, and ultimately sell it to a collector.
A 40-yr-old share probably isn't that valuable to collectors, but you never know. I certainly don't.
Meanwhile, I'm guessing that a single share of AT&T from 40 years ago is probably worth a nice little sum, in terms of all of the other companies it represents now. Except for Lucent. I got burned buying some of their stock. Don't get me started.
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DP wrote:

Depends of course when you bought Lucent! I bought some Lucent in October 2002 at 0.66 share and sold in April of 2006 at 3.06 share. 363% net gain in less than 4 years. It was my best 'pick' ever!
Now, I also bought Enron at $84/share in September 2000, and never sold! Became worthless in November 2004. So that was a infinite percentage loss! (Well, I am now a party in about 5 class action law suits!). My worse pick ever. "Don't get me started!"
Sorry about this post, I couldn't resist. We all have our stories, don't we? It's what makes the market so much fun.
--------------------------------------------------------- Regards -
- Andrew
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Andrew wrote:

Maybe that's 100% loss - lost my head!
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Regards -
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Don't forgot unclaimed funds - dividends. These monies were escheated (turned over) to the state of the last known residence (usually based on the mailing address on record).
This is somewhat a history as I know it....(it could be wrong).......
NYNEX (New York New England Exchange), Ameritech (Midwest), BellSouth, Pacific Telesis (California and Nevada), USWest (mostly rural US), Southwestern Bell (SBC) (Texas, OK and KS?), Bell Atlantic, plus AT&T (1984) = 1984 Breakup
NYNEX and Bell Alantic merged in 1997 as did SBC and Pacific Bell
Ameritech became part of SBC along the line. Pacific Telesis spun off Pacific Wireless which merged with VidoPhone (spelling) AT&T (1984) spun off NCR, Lucent Technologies (former Bell Labs) Lucent Technologies spun off Agere Systems (mostly worthless stocks today although they have market value) Lucent Technolgoies has recently merged with another company (French) Bell Atlantic, I believe is now Verizon. US West, I believe is now Qwest.
I would make the assumption since the existing AT&T is the suvivor of AT&T (1984), you could start with their shareholder services as they should have the Corporate records......
Andrew wrote:

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Alcatel.
And don't forget that BellSouth and ATT (the surviving smaller company from the breakup) just merged.
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As far as you got -- Lucent, now is part of Alcatel ("ALU"- NYSE), and also to confuse matters, SBC recently aquired AT&T (and then changed its Name, to ATT & it's symbol, to "T")! (Translation: THE company that spun off those bells, Was AQUIRED by one of it's spinoff's!) Also, if memory serves, U.S. WEST spun off (think Media 1 (CABLE TV), which was in turn absorbed by Frontier , which , in turn became part of the Global Crossing Fiasco)! confuseing, isn't it ??? :( Jim
Oilcan wrote:

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...and became Verizon...

That is Vodafone.

Alcatel-Lucent
US West spun off MediaOne just before it merged into Qwest. MediaOne was passed around like a hot potato to have portions of what was left merged into Comcast.

AT&T(1984) spun off AT&T Wireless which was eventually merged into Cingular (a privately-held partnership of SBC and others) in a cash buyout. AT&T(1984) spun off AT&T Broadband which then merged into Comcast.

By my rough guess, depending on how many shares you started with, you should have Several shares of the New AT&T Some shares of Verizon Some shares of Qwest Several shares of NCR A couple shares of Alcatel-Lucent Possibly a share or two of Vodafone A handfull of shares of Comcast And a large headache trying to track down back dividends, cash in lieu of partial shares, and a couple of other minor spin-offs that may have been missed in the above.

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Interesting.....
I know about growth... the same aunt gave ma a share of GE stock when I graduated from High School (1964). I completely forgot about it. When I found it later, I was able to get with GE and found that the dividend checks had been cashed for years by someone forging my signature. I was in Vietnam at the time and never followed up with them other than to tell them about it and to change the address of record. I started to DRIP it about 15 years ago and that one share (worth about $90 bucks originally) is now worth over $4.5K....
It's gonna be interesting....
Regards, Hank Arnold
DP wrote:

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