Altice to buy controlling stake in Suddenlink for NINE BEEELION dollars

Barely takes time to sleep it off before it starts sizing up Time Warner Cable

Two dollars

Patrick Drahi's telecommunications firm Altice is set to make its first foray into the American telecommunications market after acquiring a controlling stake in Suddenlink for over $9bn.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Drahi was in "advanced talks" to capture Suddenlink Communications, one of the United States' ten largest ISPs, and estimated that the deal "would be valued at $8-10bn including debt".

Altice has since announced [PDF] that it has "signed a definitive agreement to acquire 70 per cent of the share capital in Suddenlink from exisitng shareholders BC Partners, CPP Investment Boards and Suddenlink management. BC Partners and CPP Investment Board will retain a 30 per cent stake in Suddenlink."

The transaction is expected to close in Q4 2015, once applicable regulatory approvals have been obtained.

The statement claims Suddenlink is the seventh-largest cable operator in the US, with 1.5m residential customers and 90,000 business customers.

"With operations primarily focused in Texas, West Virginia, Louisiana Arkansas and Arizona, Suddenlink is present in attractive growth markets for both residential and business services," it suggests.

Suddenlink generated $2.4bn in revenue in 2014, and over $90m in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, with what Altice describes as "a balanced revenue mix between residential video, broadband, telephony and business services".

Altice CEO Dexter Goei said: "Our investment in Suddenlink, our first in the cable sector in the US, opens an attractive industrial and strategic avenue for Altice in the US, one of the largest and fastest-growing communications markets in the world."

The WSJ notes that Altice is also thought to be having a seperate look at Time Warner Cable, and it is understood there has been initial contact between the companies. ®

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