French telecom mogul Patrick Drahi has set key members of his U.S. management team now that his Altice conglom has closed its $9.1 billion deal to acquire 70% of St. Louis-based cable operator Suddenlink.
Altice is poised to become a sizable player in the U.S. cable and broadband landscape if it is able to secure federal approval for its pending $17.7 billion acquisition of Cablevision Systems.
Altice CEO Dexter Goei will become chairman of Altice USA. Charles F. Stewart, a former investment banker with Morgan Stanley, and Hakim Boubazine, former CEO of Altice’s Dominican Republic operations, will serve as co-presidents of Altice USA. Stewart will also function as chief financial officer and Boubazine as chief operating officer. Altice Group COO Michel Combes will work with the pair on integrating the U.S. operations with the rest of Altice’s cable, telecom, broadband and wireless operations in Western Europe, Israel and the Caribbean.
Separately, Suddenlink founder and outgoing chairman-CEO Jerry Kent will become an investor in Altice USA and head an advisory council for the company,
Suddenlink serves about 1.45 million customers in 17 states, primarily Arizona, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. Altice’s purchase of the company earlier this year caught cable biz observers off guard and was the first sign of the company’s ambition to expand in the U.S. The acquisition pact for Cablevision was set in September.
Drahi has become a prominent business figure in Europe during the past decade thanks to a string of acquisitions driven by the goal of offering subscribers the “quad play” option of receiving video, broadband, telco and wireless services from a single provider.
“Altice is very excited to officially acquire its first asset in the United States and welcome Suddenlink and its employees to our international group,” Goei said in a statement. “Suddenlink is a strong, leading business which we plan to continue to develop and grow through investment in infrastructure, innovation in technology and by integrating best practices from our brands around the world.”