Altice’s $17 billion proposed takeover of Cablevision has been favored by New York regulators.
The city’s Department of Information Technology meeting on May 9 is ready to allow the merger. The state’s Public Service Commission will approve it later that month.
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Both city and state officials have voiced their concerns that the deal will result in enormous debt, leading to layoffs and poor customer service.
Altice, a European telecom and cable company, has made it clear it will lower costs, calling out the high salaries among the “many layers” of management at Cablevision at a conference.
As a result of their remarks, consumer advocates and organized labor groups have filed statements with the commission against the combination.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top legal advisor, Maya Wiley, said in December that the city might take the unprecedented move of recommending against the merger, leading to Altice questioning if they had that authority.
Altice had a meeting with Wiley to strike a deal, sources said.
“The city’s review and approval authority over the Altice-Cablevision merger is clear, ” Wiley said.
“We want to make sure a change in ownership does not mean that New Yorkers are shortchanged on quality of service, quality of infrastructure, consumer protection and jobs.
In December of 2015, the New York Post reported that cable bills have continued to spike for the average customer. According to the FCC, prices have averaged 5.9 percent a year since 1995. The report also indicated that another round of increases could spark more cord-cutting. Pay-TV providers lost 145, 000 video subscribers in the third quarter, according to the Leichtman Research Group. While that’s down from the 440, 000 lost in the year-ago quarter, cable penetration has already dropped to 83 percent after peaking at 88 percent in 2011.
71 percent of those who cancel their cable TV subscription have said that their decision was based on prohibitive costs. Another 64 percent say they can get all the TV content they need online or by antenna, according to a Pew Research report.