France's Altice to Buy U.S. Cable Operator Suddenlink in Deal Worth $9.1 Billion

Illustration by: Paweł Jońca

The acquisition of the seventh-largest cable firm allows the company to enter the U.S. cable market, which has been consolidating.

Telecom giant Altice, which owns cable and telecom operations in France and other countries, said on Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire U.S. cable group Suddenlink in a deal with an enterprise value of $9.1 billion.

With the move, the company enters the U.S. cable market, which has been consolidating.

Altice, headquartered in Luxembourg, has also reached out to Time Warner Cable about a possible deal after the latter's recently failed deal with Comcast. Charter Communications has also been considered a possible deal partner for TW Cable.

Altice is buying 70 percent of Suddenlink from existing shareholders BC Partners, CPP Investment Board and Suddenlink management. BC and CPP will retain a 30 percent stake.

Suddenlink is the 7th largest US cable operator with 1.5 million residential and 90,000 business customers. With operations primarily focused in Texas, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Arizona, "Suddenlink is present in attractive growth markets for both residential and business services," Altice said.

“Our investment in Suddenlink, our first in the cable sector in the U.S., opens an attractive industrial and strategic avenue for Altice in the U.S., one of the largest and fastest-growing communications markets in the world,” said Altice CEO Dexter Goei.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

“Suddenlink represents an excellent fit for the Altice Group and will benefit from the operational expertise, scale and investment support that are at the core of the Altice business model,” said Altice. “With this acquisition, the Altice Group enters the large and attractive U.S. cable market and takes a further step in diversifying and balancing its portfolio of high-quality businesses.”

In 2014, Suddenlink generated $2.3 billion in revenue.

Altice was founded by telecom entrepreneur Patrick Drahi. It is now a cable and telecom company with a presence in Western Europe (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland), Israel, the French Caribbean and Indian Ocean regions and the Dominican Republic.

Twitter: @georgszalai

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