Altice agrees $17.7bn deal to acquire Cablevision


Financier Worldwide Magazine

December 2015 Issue

December 2015 Issue

In a deal that makes the organisation the fourth biggest cable operator in the US market, Altice NV has acquired Cablevision Systems Corporation for around $17.7bn.

The transaction is to be financed by $14.5bn of new and existing debt at Cablevision, cash on hand at Cablevision and $3.3bn of cash from Altice. With full financing commitments from JP Morgan, BNP Paribas and Barclays, Altice intends to raise equity by issuing Class A shares in connection with funding its portion of the acquisition.

The acquisition of Cablevision – which also includes the company’s business services unit, its Lightpath businesses, and the Newsday and amNew York newspapers – represents Altice’s next step in the US market following its acquisition of the top-10 cable broadband service provider, Suddenlink, earlier this year.

“As a family business we are proud to be entrusted by the Dolan family with the ownership of Cablevision and look forward to continuing the pioneering path they have paved for us,” said Patrick Drahi, founder and president of Altice. “The strategy of Altice in the large and highly strategic US market is reinforced with the acquisition of Cablevision. We will be in a stronger position, as in all other markets in which we operate, to deliver the best services, invest in the most advanced technology, and develop innovative products for the benefit of our customers.”

As the leading cable operator in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, Cablevision represents the most attractive US cable market characterised by affluence and population density. With a network of more than 5 million premises, Cablevision serves more than 3.1 million residential and business customers.

“Since Charles Dolan founded Cablevision in 1973, the Dolan family has been honoured to help shepherd our customers and employees through the most extraordinary communications revolution in modern history,” said Cablevision chief executive James L. Dolan. “Now, nearly half a century later, the time is right for new ownership of Cablevision and its considerable assets. We believe that Patrick Drahi and Altice will be truly worthy successors, and we look forward to doing all we can to affect this transition for our customers and employees. We expect that Cablevision will be in excellent hands.”

As part of Altice, Cablevision will be able to benefit from additional international operational expertise, enhanced scale and further investment support that are at the core of the Altice business model and strategy. While operating with independent capital structures, Cablevision can draw upon management from both Altice and Suddenlink to create a leading communications services and technology group in the US market with 4.6 million customers in 20 states.

Applauding what he called the steady, long-term ownership of Cablevison by the Dolan Family, Dexter Goei, CEO of Altice, commented: “We are very excited about our acquisition of Cablevision, which has developed into a pre-eminent cable operator. This acquisition, our second in the cable sector in the US, is the next step in Altice’s long-term oriented strategy in the US, one of the largest and fastest growing communications markets in the world.”

Acting as financial advisers to Altice during the transaction were JP Morgan, BNP Paribas and Barclays. Acting as legal advisers were Shearman & Sterling, Covington & Burling, Mayer Brown, Ropes & Gray, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell.

BofA Merrill Lynch, Guggenheim Securities and PJT Partners acted as financial advisers to Cablevision while Sullivan & Cromwell, Mintz Levin Cohn Glovsky and Popeo, and Richards Layton & Finger acted as legal advisers.

The Altice/Cablevison transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2016 once all necessary regulatory approvals have been obtained.

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Fraser Tennant

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