Cablevision Loses Fewer TV Subs in First Earnings Report Under New Owner Altice

Altice CEO Dexter Goei Getty - H 2016
Courtesy of Getty Images

The European telecom giant recently bought the U.S. cable operator for $17.7 billion and said it had the best performance in its pay TV business in four years.

Altice, the European cable and telecom giant that recently acquired Cablevision Systems in a $17.7 billion deal, said on Tuesday that Cablevision lost 2,000 pay TV subscribers in the second quarter in what the new owner said was the company's best second-quarter video subscriber performance in four years. 

The company also offers broadband and telephony services, among other things.

Cablevision also posted 2 percent underlying revenue growth on a constant currency basis pro forma for the sale of Newsday and excluding a pay-per-view event in the year-ago period, or 1.1 percent otherwise. The year-ago performance had benefited from the Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 8.7 percent.

Altice reported a 2.7 percent improvement in its quarterly adjusting earnings to $2.52 billion (2.27 billion euros) helped by the U.S. assets, even though revenue was down 2.6 percent.

Altice, founded by billionaire Patrick Drahi, also lauded the performance of small U.S. cable operator Suddenlink, in which it acquired a 70 percent stake in a $9.1 billion deal late last year. It said Suddenlink lost 23,000 video subscribers in the quarter, down from a loss of 29,000 in the year-ago period.

Altice cited "strong underlying growth in revenue of 5.7 percent year-over-year" at Suddenlink on a constant currency basis, excluding the big PPV event in the year-ago period, or 5.2 percent otherwise. Suddenlink’s EBITDA jumped 16 percent.

Overall, Altice reported a 2.7 percent improvement in its quarterly adjusted earnings to $2.52 billion (2.27 billion euros) helped by the U.S. assets and hit by weaker French results. Quarterly revenue was down 2.6 percent.

“This quarter saw Altice transform into a leading transatlantic converged telecoms and media company," said Altice CEO Michel Combes. "Having successfully closed the Cablevision acquisition, Altice USA has become the fourth-largest cable operator in the attractive and competitive U.S. market. We are very excited about the current performance and future prospects for both Suddenlink and Optimum [Cablevision]."

Asked about potential further U.S. cable deals in 2016, management previously said it expects to mostly keep its head down this year. The current year is “a year of integration and operation,” Altice president and Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei said earlier this year, adding, “we don’t anticipate doing anything else” outside possible small deals or a French deal this year.