Altice USA CEO "Committed" to Cable Mega-Deal

Dexter Goei - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Altice USA

Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei

Dexter Goei spoke during a virtual Goldman Sachs media, entertainment and telecom conference.

Cable giant Altice USA remains "committed" to the pursuit of Cogeco's Atlantic Broadband, CEO Dexter Goei told the virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference on Tuesday.

"We remain committed to the process," and look forward to hearing back from the board, he said during a session at the investor conference, adding that Altice USA had received "supportive" feedback from shareholders of the takeover target.

Altice USA at the start of September unveiled a $7.8 billion offer to acquire Canadian cable giant Cogeco Co. to get its hands on its U.S. unit Atlantic Broadband, which the bid valued at $3.6 billion. As part of the cross-border deal, Altice USA offered to sell Cogeco's Canadian cable TV business, controlled by Quebec's Audet family, to rival Rogers Communications.

Cogeco rejected the offer, leading analysts to discuss a potential sweetened bid from Altice USA. For example, Bernstein analyst Peter Supino in a recent report said that the first offer "leaves room for Altice to offer more, and we expect Altice to do so based on the value of the growth and synergy potential we see."

Atlantic Broadband is the ninth largest U.S. cable operator, with assets in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Asked why a deal was so attractive for Altice USA, Goei said: "We have never shied away from (saying) that M&A is the best return for our shareholders. This is an opportunity that makes a lot of sense for us."

He said the assets are geographically complementary, and Atlantic has attractive margins with more upside. "We think we can do a better job going forward not only on the cost side" but also in terms of revenue, the CEO explained.

Goei also said that Altice USA also remains interested in potential other deals. "Everything that’s underneath us in terms of size is not necessarily shaking loose one day to the next," he said. But "we will continue to look for opportunities small, medium and large."

In the meantime, the management team will look to drive growth and upside in its existing business, he said.

Altice USA Offers $7.8 Billion Deal for Canada's Cogeco