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The Dolan family has found a buyer for Cablevision.
The cable television company has agreed to be sold to international operator Altice in a $17.7 billion deal, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The news was first reported by The New York Times.
The reported deal with the European telecom company would mark the latest consolidation in the cable industry, following AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV.
The Dolan family, with James Dolan currently as CEO and president, has controlled the New York-based company since its founding in 1973.
Altice had made its foray into the U.S. with the acquisition of Suddenlink in May.
Beyond DirecTV-AT&T, Cablevision Communications, largely controlled by telecommunications mogul John Malone, has agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable after U.S. regulators signaled that they wouldn’t allow Comcast to buy TWC.
Regulatory approval could also be an issue, given Altice already acquired Suddenlink for $9.1 billion. It was unclear Wednesday as to how much sway European regulators would have over an Altice-Cablevision marriage.
With Cablevision’s 3.1 million customers, foreign-owned Altice would suddenly become one of the biggest cable providers in the U.S.
Cablevision is controlled by the Dolan family, and it has been presumed they considered it their flagship property, willing to acquire but not anxious to be acquired. The agreement with Altice, which could become official this week, is therefore somewhat of a surprise, despite the wave of consolidation in the challenging industry. Cable has suffered from video defections as Netflix and others have thrived.
The Dolans, though, still own the Madison Square Garden Co., which is in the process of splitting into two companies, one of which will house the TV assets.
Under the terms of the deal, Altice will pay a 22-percent premium over Cablevision’s closing price on Wednesday.
Cablevision did not respond to a request for comment.
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