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Cablevision sells out to European conglomerate for $17.7 billion

Shareholders have already approved the deal, which will create the fourth largest US cable operator and is expected to complete in early 2016

Altice is not a readily recognizable name, but it's a company with big ambitions to be a global player in the cable TV market, and today it's made its splashiest acquisition in the United States by announcing the $17.7 billion takeover of Cablevision. This follows the $9.1 billion purchase of majority control of St. Louis-based Suddenlink Communications in May, which was Altice's initial entry into the US. Already established with a number of significant brands in western Europe, Altice provides the so-called quad-play package of internet connectivity, fixed and mobile telephony, and pay-TV services. The combined footprint of Cablevision and Suddenlink immediately vaults it to the position of being the fourth largest US cable provider, setting it up to expand its offerings in a new market.

The $17.7 billion deal has already been approved in writing by the Cablevision shareholders, who are getting a nice 22 percent premium on the company's closing stock price on Wednesday, receiving $34.90 per share. Owned by the Dolan family since its founding in 1973, Cablevision is now being sold on to investors who seem determined to force their way into a market that is undergoing a period of significant upheaval. Altice claims that its two new US properties "will benefit from additional international operational expertise, enhanced scale and further investment support that are at the core of the Altice business model and strategy." In other words, where success can't be found, it can be bought. Completion of the Cablevision takeover is expected in early 2016.