Altice to buy Suddenlink; eyes TWC?

Altice SA (Euronext: ATC), a multinational cable and telecommunications company based in Luxembourg, has agreed to acquire 70% of privately held U.S. cable operator Suddenlink for $9.1 billion. Meanwhile, reports suggest it may also be considering a bid for Time Warner Cable.

Altice SA (Euronext: ATC), a multinational cable and telecommunications company based in Luxembourg, has agreed to acquire 70% of privately held U.S. cable operator Suddenlink for $9.1 billion. Meanwhile, reports suggest it may also be considering a bid for Time Warner Cable.

Suddenlink is the seventh largest cable operator in the U.S., primarily serving residential and business customers in Texas, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Arizona. It is owned by a combination of BC Partners, CPP Investment Board, and Suddenlink management. BC Partners and CPP Investment Board will retain 30% of the company once the transaction closes, a milestone expected to occur in the fourth quarter of this year.

Altice will chip in $1.2 billion in cash for its potential new acquisition. The rest of the funds will come from a combination of $6.7 billion of new and existing debt at Suddenlink, a $500 million vendor loan note from BC Partners and CPP Investment Board, as well as the roll over by BC Partners and CPP Investment Board.

Suddenlink Chairman and CEO Jerry Kent will leave the company once the deal closes.

The Altice group operates a number of cable and telecommunications operators and content providers in Europe and elsewhere. They include Cabovisão (Portugal), Green.ch (Switzerland), HOT (Israel), MCS TV (which produce sports content), Numericable BeLux (Belgium and Luxembourg), Numericable-SFR (France), Oni (Portugal), Orange Dominicana (Dominican Republic), SFR Caraïbe (West Indies), and Tricom (Dominican Republic).

This would be the company's first foray into the United States. However, it may not be its last. Reuters quotes an unnamed source as asserting acquisition talks between Altice and Time Warner Cable are ongoing. Time Warner, of course, had its deal to merge with Comcast scuttled. While Charter was thought to be a potential replacement, that company appears more intent on acquiring Bright House Networks (see "All eyes on Charter in wake of Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger failure" and "Charter, Bright House still walking down the merger aisle").

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