Wheelings & Dealings: Cablevision to be Acquired by Altice Group

September 17, 2015
By: Joe Rizzo

The Altice Group, a multinational cable and telecommunications company, has presence in many areas including include France, Israel, Belgium and Luxembourg, Portugal, French West Indies and Switzerland and offers cable services as well as mobile telephony services to residential customers and corporate customers in some of those countries.

Today we have news that the Netherlands-based telecoms company has entered into a deal to acquire U.S. cable television provider Cablevision. The deal is valued at just under $18 billion and as of now, has been approved by the boards of both companies. If all goes according to plan, the deal consists of cash totaling $3.3 billion with the remainder being $34.90 per share for Cablevision stock.

Over the past year or so, the company has been in the process of acquiring cable companies. Back in November 2014, Altice completed its acquisition of mobile operator SFR from Vivendi for $15.46 billion. In addition ARCEP, the French telecoms regulator has given its approval for Altice to also acquire Virgin Mobile (News - Alert) France.

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Also in May, Altice agreed to buy U.S. regional cable company Suddenlink Communications, the seventh-largest U.S. cable player, for $9.1 billion. This was seen as Altice’s first move across the Atlantic and setting the stage for further deals, which followed shortly in a failed attempt to purchase Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable.

Cablevision Systems Corporation is an American cable television company mostly serving New York City. It is the fifth-largest cable provider and ninth-largest television provider in the U.S., with most customers residing in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania. Charles Dolan built the cable system in the mid-1960s.

It seems that telecoms companies in Europe are running into roadblocks, bottlenecking the ability for additional industry consolidation. European regulators have been reluctant to permit more mergers, which has led Altice to venture across the ocean.

Patrick Drahi, Altice’s CEO believes that his company can make a difference in the U.S. by offering quadruple play options. We have all seen the triple play offers of cable, fixed telephone lines and high-speed broadband, Drahi wants to add mobile as the fourth option.

According to Cablevision and Altice, the deal would lead to the creation of the fourth largest cable operator in the U.S. market. The acquisition also includes Newsday Media Group, which is the publisher of Newsday and amNewYork. However, the deal does not include the Madison Square Garden Company, which is also controlled by the Dolans.

It will be interesting to see what happens once the deal, which is set for some time during the first half of next year, is completed. Altice has been known for trimming the fat and cutting costs, considering that it will also be purchasing Cablevision’s debt, it will be noteworthy to see what changes will take place in the near future.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi