French telco conglomerate Altice has made a major strategic move into the US market with the acquisition of Cablevision for $17.7 billion to become the fourth largest US cable operator.
Cablevision will be combined with Suddenlink, which Altice acquired earlier this year. Altice has been highly acquisitive in recent times, having snapped up the number two French mobile operator, SFR, as well as Portugal Telecom last year. A condition of the PT acquisition was that it Cabovisao and ONI in Portugal, which it completed earlier this week.
While Suddenlink gave Altice a foothold in a number of southern US states, Cablevision is apparently the leading operator in the New York metropolitan area, with over three million customers, two third of which already buy triple-play bundles.
“The strategy of Altice in the large and highly strategic US market is reinforced with the acquisition of Cablevision,” said Patrick Drahi, Founder and President of Altice. “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.”
“We are very excited about our acquisition of Cablevision, which has developed into a pre-eminent cable operator under the steady, long-term ownership of the Dolan Family,” said Dexter Goei, CEO of Altice. “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.”
It looks like Altice wants to replicate the multiplay strategy it has already implemented in Europe over in the US, but that would require the acquisition of a mobile operator. Sprint and T-Mobile have had various M&A rumours associated with them in recent years, so it would no longer be a major shock if Altice raided the corporate piggy bank once more to grab one of them.