Altice has agreed to buy the US cable operator Cablevision from the Dolan family for an enterprise value of $17.7 billion, with the transaction expected to close in H1 2016 subject to regulatory and other customary approvals.
Cablevision is the leading operator in the New York metropolitan area, which covers New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It passes over 5 million homes and services more than 3.1 million residential and business customers, with some 65% of them opting for triple-play services. With the deal, which values Cablevision at $34.90 and will be paid for in cash, and following on closely from the acquisition of Suddenlink earlier this year, Altice will become the fourth largest cable operator in the US.
The acquisition of Cablevision also includes Lightpath, the company’s business services unit; News 12 Networks, the first, largest, and most- watched 24-hour local television news network in the US; Newsday Media Group with the newspapers Newsday and am NewYork; and Cablevision Media Sales, the company’s advertising sales division.
Cablevision generated $6,525 million in revenue and $1,858 million in AOCF (Adjusted Free Cash Flow) on a consolidated basis in the year to June 30. Its cable and Lightpath businesses generated $6,206 million and $2,005 million respectively over the same period, with a balanced mix between video, broadband, telephony and business services.
Patrick Drahi, founder and president of Altice, said: “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. 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.”
Dexter Goei, CEO of Altice, added: “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. 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.”
Cablevision CEO James L. Dolan issued the following statement on behalf of the Dolan family: “Since Charles Dolan founded Cablevision in 1973, the Dolan family has been honored to help shepherd our customers and employees through the most extraordinary communications revolution in modern history.
“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.
“For the Dolan family, we move forward with AMC Networks and The Madison Square Garden Company – two and, eventually, three public companies – all born of Cablevision and each with brighter prospects today than ever before.
With profound gratitude to our employees, customers and shareholders who have made our vision a reality, the Dolans look forward to continuing this fascinating journey”.
This is the second major deal involving Altice in the last few days. Earlier this week, the company announced that it had agreed to sell Portugal’s Cabovisão and ONI to Apax France.