Altice Says Cablevision Deal on Track to Close This Quarter

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Altice CEO Dexter Goei

First-quarter earnings rise minimally as U.S. cable operator Suddenlink posts growth, but the European giant's French business reports lower results.

Altice, the European cable and telecom giant that has agreed to acquire Cablevision Systems, reported nearly unchanged first-quarter core earnings on Wednesday as its French business posted lower profits amid heated competition.

The company said it was on track to close the Cablevision deal, valued at $17.7 billion, by mid-year.

Altice, founded by billionaire Patrick Drahi, also lauded the performance of small U.S. cable operator Suddenlink during its first quarter under ownership by Altice. The company acquired a 70 percent stake in Suddenlink in a $9.1 billion deal late last year.

"We are excited about Suddenlink’s performance under our first full quarter of ownership and its growth prospects," said CEO Dexter Goei. "We look forward to successfully concluding the Cablevision regulatory approval process and closing the acquisition in the second quarter."

Altice reported a 0.9 percent increase in its first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, the company's profitability measure that analysts focus on, to €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion). First-quarter revenue fell 2.7 percent to $4.9 billion.

Suddenlink's adjusted operating profit in the quarter jumped 21 percent to $276 million as revenue rose 9 percent driven by subscriber growth. The company grew customer relationships by 22,000.

Added Goei: "It has been a challenging quarter in France, but we are confident that our accelerated network investment program, content-enriched service offering and operational improvements will deliver improving results throughout 2016 under the new management."

Altice's stock fell in early Wednesday trading.