Altice Leaps Into Cable Fray

AlticeThe purchase of Long Island’s famed Cablevision Systems Corporation by Netherlands-based multinational telecom company Altice NV has received the appropriate federal, state and local regulatory approvals and closed on June 20. Altice entered into an agreement to acquire Cablevision last fall on Sept. 16, 2015. The transaction, valued at $17.7 billion, provides Cablevision shareholders of Class A and Class B common stock to receive $34.90 in cash for each share they own. Cablevision was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CVC and its last day of trading was Monday, June 20, closing at $34.87.

On Dec. 21, 2015, Altice NV acquired 70 percent of Suddenlink. Suddenlink, founded by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Kent, was the seventh largest U.S. cable operator, serving 1.45 million residential customers and over 90,000 business customers in 17 states including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.

Altice USA has been formed with the acquisition of Cablevision and Suddenlink to become the number four cable operator in the United States. The company serves 4.6 million customers in 20 states. In addition to its cable operations, Altice USA also is the new owner of News 12 Networks, Newsday and amNew York.

Some players from the merger will remain, like Kent of Suddenlink, who is part of a newly found Group Advisory Council at Altice USA being led by Patrick Drahl, Altice’s founder and controlling shareholder. “The completion of the Cablevision acquisition marks a critical step in the development of the Altice Group. Altice USA is a key pillar of our business and a powerful and dynamic growth platform,” said Drahl.

At the helm of Altice USA is Michel Combes, former chief executive officer of Alcatel-Lucent SA. Combes replaces Dexter Goei, who will focus on integrating the U.S. cable carriers. Combes has the reputation of being a cost-cutter.

Ownership of Cablevision was widely held with very little owned by the Dolan family of Oyster Bay. According to filings, the family owned 2.5 million shares collectively with James Dolan owning the lion’s share, followed by Charles Dolan, Patrick Dolan and Thomas Dolan. The biggest shareholder on Long Island was hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, which owned 5.5 million shares.

Altice is a multinational cable, fiber, telecommunications, content and media company with presence in four regions: Western Europe (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland); the United States; Israel and the Overseas Territories (French Caribbean, the Indian Ocean regions and the Dominican Republic). Altice provides very high speed-based service including high-quality pay television, fast broadband Internet and fixed line telephone and in certain countries provides mobile telephone services to residential and corporate customers. Altice is also active in the media with a portfolio of channels including news, sports and lifestyle as well as providing premium content. It also produces its own original content such as series and movies.

Altice symbols, ATC or ATCB, are listed on NYSE Euronext Amsterdam.

Elizabeth Johnson
Elizabeth Johnson is editor of Manhasset Press and Manhasset Press Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.

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