Altice tries to raise some cash with US IPO

The US arm of French telecoms conglomerate Altice is heavily in debt following a spate of acquisitions, so it’s having a whip-round in the public markets.

Altice USA is offering 46,551,725 shares of its Class A common stock (non-voting), which it hopes will be bought for between $27 and $31, potentially raising around $1.5 billion. However following the acquisitions of Cablevision and Suddenlink for a total in excess of $26 billion that might still be a drop in the ocean.

According to an FT report Altice USA still has over $20 billion of debt and furthermore it will probably only trouser a net sum of $330 million, with major investors set to grab the rest. The listing only accounts for 6.5 percent of its shares.

Altice has been on an aggressive M&A spree in both Europe and the US for some time. On top of the US acquisitions it acquired French operator SFR and Portuguese telco PT. The latter was pretty convoluted from the start and is still the subject of an investigation by the European Commission for possible rule-breaking by Altice, which had previously been fined for similar transgressions during the SFR move.

Altice decided to publish its strategy last year but it seemed to be largely more of the same: aggressive M&A followed by aggressive efficiencies and aggressive use of juicy corporate language such as ‘leveraging’. The current impression is of a company that might be a little too aggressive and could probably do with keeping its head down and paying off a bit of debt for a while.

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