Altice completes Cablevision buy, forms Altice USA, shuffles management

In a flurry of activity, Europe-based cable operator and media company Altice (Euronext: ATC, ATCB) closed its acquisition of Cablevision Systems Corp., combined it with its recently acquired Suddenlink assets to create Altice USA, and reshaped its executive leadership team. This last action included promoting ex-Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes to the same role at Altice NV.

In a flurry of activity, Europe-based cable operator and media company Altice (Euronext: ATC, ATCB) closed its acquisition of Cablevision Systems Corp., combined it with its recently acquired Suddenlink assets to create Altice USA, and reshaped its executive leadership team. This last action included promoting ex-Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes to the same role at Altice NV.

Altice USA will be the fourth largest cable operator in the U.S., behind Comcast, New Charter (thanks to Charter's recent acquisitions of Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable), and Cox Communications. It will serve more than 4.6 million customers in 20 states.

The company announced an agreement to buy New York-based Cablevision in September 2015 for $17.7 billion (see "Altice to buy Cablevision for $17.7 billion"). It closed its purchase of Suddenlink in December 2015 (see "Altice to buy Suddenlink; eyes TWC?"). Altice USA will embark on a system-wide network upgrade to improve its ability to increase current broadband data rates. The company also says it will offer a low-income internet service, develop a new suite of home networking capabilities, improve its Wi-Fi services, and invest in its IT capabilities.

"The completion of the Cablevision acquisition marks a critical step in the development of the Altice Group," said Patrick Drahi, founder and controlling shareholder of Altice. "Altice USA is a key pillar of our business and a powerful and dynamic growth platform. We are very excited about our U.S. business and the opportunities we see in this market. We will accelerate network investments and bring innovative products and services to U.S. customers by leveraging our global operational expertise, scale, and resources. I wish to also thank the Dolan family for entrusting us with their life's work at Cablevision, where they have developed under their pioneering stewardship one of America's pre-eminent cable operations with best-in-class management talent."

Dexter Goei, president of Altice NV, was named chairman and CEO of Altice USA. Charles Stewart and Hakim Boubazine were named co-presidents, with Stewart carrying the additional title of CFO and Boubazine COO.

Stewart's team will include:

  • Lisa Rosenblum, general counsel
  • Michael Schreiber, chief content officer
  • Lee Schroeder, head of government affairs
  • Victoria Mink, chief accounting officer
  • Patrick Dolan, president, News 12 Networks
  • Ed Renicker, president, media sales.

The following people will report to Boubazine;

  • Pragash Pillai, head of Optimum Operations
  • David Gilles, head of Suddenlink Operations
  • Kevin Stephens, president, business services
  • Terry Cordova, CTO
  • Gregg Graff, head of residential sales
  • Matthew Lake, chief marketing officer
  • Keith Sherwell, chief information officer.

Colleen Schmidt will be head of human resources and talent development.

Meanwhile, back at corporate headquarters, Combes was named CEO to replace Goei, who occupied that role until he assumed leadership of Altice USA. Goei will retain a leadership role within the Altice group with the new title of president, which Drahi formerly held. Drahi will continue to set the corporation's strategic, operational and technological course as head of the newly formed Altice Group Advisory Council. The members of that council were not identified.

As CEO, Combes will lead Altice's executive committee. He also was named a director on the company's board.

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