European telecoms group Altice has wrapped up its $10B acquisition of Cablevision, which it now will merge with Suddenlink to create the fourth largest broadband provider in the United States. Altice paid $9.1 billion for a controlling stake in Suddenlink before it made the offer for Cablevision.
The new Cablevision will have 4.6 million customers in 20 states.
“We want get bigger in the U.S., but I don’t know when, clearly not in 2016, which is the year of integration of our assets and operations,” Dexter Goei, chairman and chief executive of Altice USA told the Wall Street Journal. “Thereafter, you’d be surprised if we didn’t do anything, but we’re not going to buy things at stupid prices.”
Goei also will be president of Altice itself.
Altice agreed to a number of conditions to facilitate regulator approval of the Cablevision buy, including a vow to not to lay off any of its consumer-facing staff for the next five years, and to give back 25% of its estimated $450 million savings in operational costs onto customers.
It also promised to significantly increase broadband speeds through investments in network upgrades and improvements, introduce a low-income broadband offering and a next-gen customer interface offering “informative and seamless navigation” that integrates video on demand, online content, and advanced navigation and recommendation tools to maximize the consumer’s experience.
It also plans to invest more into and support Cablevision’s large WiFi network, which will further extend the reach of broadband offerings.
“We are very excited about our U.S. business and the opportunities we see in this market,” said Patrick Drahi, Founder and Controlling Shareholder of Altice. “We will accelerate network investments and bring innovative products and services to U.S. customers by leveraging our global operational expertise, scale and resources.”