France’s Altice Buys U.S. Cable Operator Suddenlink in $9 Billion Deal

Time Warner Cable may also be target of Altice after bombed Comcast deal: report

Suddenlink Communications — a midsize U.S. cable operator with 1.5 million customers — is being acquired by French media conglomerate Altice in a deal estimated to be worth $9.1 billion.

The proposed deal by telecom company Altice for America’s seventh-biggest MSO has the pay-TV business on edge. The bid comes shortly after Comcast nixed its $45 billion deal for Time Warner Cable, which the FCC had signaled that it intended to block.

In addition, Altice — controlled by billionaire Patrick Drahl — has made overtures to buy TW Cable after the failed Comcast bid, according to reports by Reuters and Bloomberg citing anonymous individuals. “At first blush, Altice’s interest in (Time Warner Cable) is bad news for Charter. If Altice can snatch away TWC, Charter is left at the altar. Again,” independent analyst Craig Moffett wrote in a research note Wednesday.

Altice — controlled by billionaire Patrick Drahl — has made overtures to buy TW Cable after the failed Comcast bid, according to reports by Reuters and Bloomberg citing anonymous individuals. “At first blush, Altice’s interest in (Time Warner Cable) is bad news for Charter. If Altice can snatch away TWC, Charter is left at the altar.Again.”

“Altice’s decision to buy Suddenlink at an insupportably high price creates even more uncertainty in an industry where virtually every element of the story is now in flux,” Moffett wrote. “The combination of Suddenlink and Altice makes no sense.”

“I’m very proud of the team and our accomplishments over the last 12 years,” Suddenlink chairman-CEO Jerry Kent (pictured, above) said in a prepared statement. “This acquisition is a testament to the consistently strong operating and financial results we’ve achieved.”

Kent said that following the transaction, he will continue to focus on other businesses through his investment in the Cequel III entity. “Throughout my entrepreneurial career, I’ve been excited and energized by seeking new opportunities and companies, and I look forward to the next chapter,” he said.

Meanwhile, also Wednesday, Bright House Networks said it was still working on a potential deal with Charter Communications. Under the new agreement, the companies have extended negotiations by an additional 30 days. Previously, John Malone-backed Charter said it planned to acquire Bright House for $10.4 billion.

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