Patrick Drahi is defiant after TWC Setback. “We were not ready, ” says the Luxembourg-based Altice owner. After losing out to Comcast in the bid to acquire Time Warner Cable, French-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi admits that he and his Luxembourg-based company Altice were not ready for the mega merger. Earlier this week, Charter closed a $55 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable.
Last week, Drahi made a surprise entry into the US cable market by buying Suddenlink in a $9.1 billion deal – positioning himself as a strong contender for Time Warner Cable. His last minute entry could have been the reason why Comcast fast-tracked its negotiations with Time Warner Cable.
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Drahi’s has a reputation as a formidable deal maker. He created an impressive media empire in Europe by acquiring over 20 European mobile and cable companies in a short span. “I didn’t follow up on the exchanges we had on Time Warner Cable that were mentioned in the media because we were not ready, ” Drahi disclosed in a French parliamentary hearing held on Wednesday. The media tycoon maintained that it was not a defeat, adding, “I didn’t lose, I didn’t bid.”
Drahi was reportedly in talks with large financial institutions including JPMorgan Chase and Société Generale to float his multi-billion cash bid. Analysts had argued that Drahi-owned Altice, valued at $36 billion, might not be able to integrate the much larger Time Warner Cable.
Drahi’s controlling stake in Suddenlink, seventh largest US cable company still makes him a big player in US cable market. His cost cutting tactics and appetite for a larger market share could force his competitors to move faster – further consolidating the market.