Patrick Drahi’s Altice NV Thursday said it would buy Cablevision Systems Corp. for about $17.7 billion including debt. The acquisition of Cablevision represents Altice’s next step in the US market following the announced acquisition of Suddenlink in May.
Drahi has been one of the most acquisitive telecom entrepreneurs in Europe. Just after announcing the deal to buy Suddenlink, Drahi quickly put an eye on Time Warner Cable Inc., which was in the process of negotiating a sale to Charter Communications Inc.
Charter beat Altice to that prize, with a $55 billion deal to buy TWC that is pending. Drahi has said he decided not to bid for TWC because he felt the company wasn’t yet ready to take on such a large company in a new market.
Over the past two years, he was expanding his French cable group into a communications company which has a market cap of €24.6 billion.
The Luxembourg based group bought a stake in Numerical-SFR for $4.4 billion. Next Altice offered €10 billion in a failed bid to buy Bouygues Telecom. Then, buy Suddenlink, the seventh largest regional cable TV station for $9.1 billion.
The current deal values Cablevision at $17.7 billion, and together both operators represent the 4th largest cable operation in the US market.
Altice said it would pay $34.9 a share for Cablevision, which serves 3.1 million customers across its TV, voice and high-speed data services throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Patrick Drahi, who hold French nationality, is Israel’s wealthiest man. He 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.”