Altice to buy U.S. firm Cablevision for $17.7 billion: sources


U.S. cable TV operator Cablevision Systems Corp (CVC.N) has agreed to a $17.7 billion takeover offer by European telecommunications company Altice (ATCA.AS), according to two people familiar with the matter, the latest acquisitions in a sector struggling with declining viewership.

Shares of Cablevision, which is controlled by New York’s Dolan family, jumped as much as 16 percent to $33.12 after the bell as details of the takeover deal, which includes Cablevision’s debt, became public. The New York Times had earlier reported on the deal.

The sources said Altice will pay $34.90 per share for Cablevision and will finance the deal through banks and by selling additional shares.

As part of the deal, BC Partners and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the minority stake holders of Suddenlink [CQUELS.UL], may buy 30 percent of Cablevision’s equity, the sources added.

The sources declined to be identified as the matter remained confidential. Altice and Cablevision could not be immediately reached for comment.

Cablevision, which operates primarily in the Greater New York area, was valued at $7.89 billion as of Wednesday’s close based on its outstanding shares as of July 31. Its debt levels were not immediately known.

Altice Group is a multinational cable and telecommunications company which has said it was keen to acquire more U.S. cable TV firms. The Cablevision takeover is its second this year.

In May, it agreed to buy Suddenlink, the seventh largest U.S. cable company, for $9.1 billion from private equity investors, its first move across the Atlantic.

U.S. cable companies are struggling with declining subscriber numbers, with viewers shifting to cheaper and more flexible streaming services offered by the likes of Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), Inc (AMZN.O) and Hulu, triggering a wave of acquisitions in the sector this year.

AT&T Inc (T.N) became the largest U.S. pay-TV company in July after it completed its $48.5 billion merger with the biggest satellite-TV provider DirecTV DTV.O.

Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N) said in July that it was working towards closing a deal to be bought by Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O).

Earlier this year, Altice held talks with Time Warner about a possible deal.



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