Altice hits the US acquisition trail - heads out west to bag Suddenlink
French telecoms Group Altice, which merged with French mobile player SFR and, more recently, Portugal Telecom, is on the rampage again. It today announced a foray into the US cable market with the acquisition of 70 per cent of appropriately named cable company, Suddenlink, which services around 1.5 million cable customers across the southern United states - in West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Arizona.
The $9.1 billion deal saw Altice share price surge by 7.7 per cent, so it seems investors are untroubled by talk of cord-shaving and cord-cutting said to be infecting the US Pay and Cable TV market. On the upside cable is a strong provider of broadband of course. If one side were to go down (pay TV) there’s little doubt that the other side (broadband) will rise.
According to Altice CEO Dexter Goei, the company is “very excited… and highly committed to continue to improve network investment, customer offers and service innovation in the attractive US market.”
Goei seems to be indicating that this is just a start for the French group. As an outside investor there is not at this stage any antitrust issues (unlike some Cable M&A attempts in the US), so Goei is keen for more.
“Our investment in Suddenlink, our first in the cable sector in the US, opens an attractive industrial and strategic avenue for Altice in the US, one of the largest and fastest growing telecommunications markets in the world.
“While our strong performance has afforded Suddenlink ready access to growth capital, the backing of Altice will better position the company to gain critical scale as a major consolidator in the U.S. cable industry,” said Suddenlink CEO Jerry Kent.
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