Altice acquisition spree continues with US cable player Suddenlink

Not content with snapping up SFR and Portugal Telecom in the past year, French telco Altice has announced the acquisition of 70% of US cable company Suddenlink.

Suddenlink has 1.5 million residential cable customers primarily in Texas, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Arizona, and Altice is positioning the acquisition at its move into the US market, which has been trying to consolidate but just can’t seem to get on the right side of competition authorities. This deal is less likely to trouble them. Current owners BC Partners and CPP Investment Board will retain a 30% stake.

Dexter Goei, CEO of Altice, declared: “We are very excited about the acquisition of Suddenlink and are highly committed to continue to improve network investment, customer offers and service innovation in the attractive US market,” said Dexter Goei, CEO of Altice.

“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 communications markets in the world. We are looking forward to our partnership with BC Partners and CPP Investment Board and believe Suddenlink is a best-in-class business that should be able to deliver profitability and cash flow levels in line with best-in-class European cable businesses.”

“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.

The acquisition values Suddenlink at $9.1 billion and Altice is financing the deal mainly through new debt. While this is a strong statement of intent from Altice, is hasn’t come cheap and still just represents a toe-hold in the US market. Since Altice’s other recent acquisitions have been to create multiplay propositions it will be interesting to see if it makes a move for any US mobile players. The deals is expected to complete towards the end of this year.

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