You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cablevision to Be Sold to France’s Altice for $17.7 Billion

Cablevision is poised to be acquired by French telecom group Altice in a $17.7 billion deal that marks the latest consolidation of cable ownership in the U.S.

News of the deal was reported Wednesday by the New York Times and other outlets. Industry sources said the deal came together relatively quickly and was expected to be unveiled as early as Thursday. A rep for Cablevision did not immediately return a request for comment.

Altice made waves in the U.S. earlier this year when it swooped in to buy mid-sized U.S. cable operator Suddenlink, a purchase that surprised the domestic TV biz.

Cablevision is the nation’s fourth-largest cable operator with 2.8 million subscribers, concentrated in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The company has long been a pillar and pioneer of the cable business, found in 1973 with 1,500 customers on Long Island. The company is controlled by the Dolan family, which has deep roots in the New York area with holdings that range from the New York Knicks and New York Rangers sports teams to Madison Square Garden to the AMC Networks cable group.

The Dolan family has moved to separate its cable system holdings from other assets, spinning of the sports teams and MSG into a separate entity and AMC Networks as a separate publicly held entity. But the sale of its cable company marks the end of an era for the company led by founder and chairman Charles Dolan, who was one of the forces behind the growth of the industry in the 1970s and ’80s.

Altice has been making waves in the past few years on both sides of the Atlantic under the leadership of French-Israeli mogul Patrick Drahi, who has been on a telecom acquisition spree in Europe. Altice in May bought 70% of Suddenlink, which has about 1.5 million subscribers, in a $9.1 billion deal that was seen as a high price tag and an indication of Drahi’s interest in breaking into the U.S. market.

Altice also made a run at Time Warner Cable this year before Charter Communications set its $57 billion acquisition of the nation’s second-largest cable operator.

Cablevision had been seen as a prime acquisition target, with speculation that Comcast would make a run at it after its attempt to buy Time Warner Cable was squashed by federal regulators.

Cablevision CEO James Dolan, son of Charles Dolan, signaled the family’s interest in selling in May when he remarked at the NCTA’s annual confab during a panel session with other cable titans that Cablevision should merge with Time Warner Cable.

“I’m sure I’ll talk to (TW Cable) about the value of it, because I think it’s there. I think we can prove it and we’ll see what happens,” Dolan later told CNBC. But days later, Time Warner and Charter tied the knot.

The merger mania among cable operators at a time of dramatic changes in the pay TV landscape has also spurred an renewed focus on the possibility of content heavyweights bulking up in response. Sony Pictures Entertainment, AMC Networks, Starz, Scripps Networks Interactive Discovery Communications, Lionsgate and even CBS and Time Warner are all seen as potential takeover targets (or acquirers in the case of the larger companies) in the coming years.

More TV

  • Reese Witherspoon

    Starz to Develop 'Kin' Series With Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine

    Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine banner has inked a deal with Starz to develop “Kin,” Variety has learned. The multi-generational family drama comes from “Queen Sugar” and “Constantine” writer Davita Scarlett who developed the project with Chester Jones III. Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine Film and TV head Lauren Neustadter are on board as EPs alongside Scarlett. [...]

  • David Shuster Michelle Makori I24

    Altice Aims to Carve Out Niche in Cable With Global-Themed i24News

    Who would invest in the U.S. launch of a linear, 24/7 cable news network in the current climate of bloodletting for niche cable channels? Patrick Drahi, the French-Israeli media mogul who controls Altice USA and Altice Europe, that’s who. Multiple system operator Altice USA is slowly but steadily expanding the cable distribution base for i24News, [...]

  • Sunday Night Football Ratings

    Pete Bevacqua Expands Oversight of NBC Sports

    Pete Bevacqua, who joined NBC Sports Group as president in September of last year, will gain more oversight of the NBCUniversal unit in the wake of a recent restructuring of the executive ranks of the corporation. Bevacqua retains his role as president, but will oversee the entire NBC Sports Group portfolio, adding NBC Olympics, production, [...]

  • 'Robin Hood' Director Otto Bathurst to

    Showtime's 'Halo' Series Enlists 'Robin Hood' Director Otto Bathurst

    Showtime’s adaptation of the wildly popular video game “Halo” has found its new director. The network has announced that Otto Bathurst will assume the director’s chair for multiple episodes, as well as serving as EP for the live-action series. Bathurst’s most recent directorial credits include last year’s adaption of “Robin Hood” with Taron Egerton and [...]

  • 'Haunting of Hill House' Renewed, Creators

    'Haunting of Hill House' Renewed as Anthology, Creators Ink Overall TV Deal at Netflix

    “The Haunting of Hill House” is returning to Netflix–sort of. The streaming giant has ordered a new installment in what they are calling “The Haunting” anthology, meaning the  next chapter of the horror series will feature an entirely new story and new characters from those seen in the first season. In addition, Netflix has entered [...]

  • Peter Tork dead

    Peter Tork of the Monkees Dies at 77

    Peter Tork, the guitarist and wise-cracking character in the 1960s teen-pop sensation the Monkees, died today at the age of 77, a rep for the group confirmed to Variety. Speaking with the Washington Post, Tork’s sister Anne Thorkelson did not specify a cause of death, although the guitarist had been diagnosed with a rare form [...]

  • Jussie SmollettBillboard Music Awards, Arrivals, Las

    Fox 'Evaluating the Situation' After Jussie Smollett Arrest

    Fox is weighing its options following the arrest of “Empire” star Jussie Smollett on Thursday morning. “We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process,” 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a joint statement. “We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.” Smollett surrendered to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content