×

Cablevision Acquirer Altice Stock Drops 5% After Announcing 2015 Results

Market still worries about cost-cutter Altice’s debt, commitment to marketing, strategy, customer experience

PARIS – Patrick Drahi’s Altice Group, which bought Cablevision last September – in a deal pending regulatory approval – reported 2015 results which gave markets much of what they wanted – such as the first uptick in mobile customers at French cell-phone operator SFR – but not enough of it to stop a 4.8% plunge in morning trading on corporate stock.

Revenues at the whole Altice Group plateau-ed at €17.495 billion (), 0.1% down year-on-year. For France’s cable-mobile phone operator Numericable-SFR, Altice’s biggest unit, whose full year results were announced separately, sales were down 3.5% to €11.039 billion ($12.2 billion), vs. 2014. Altice Group operating profit stood at €6.671 billion ($7.4 billion), up 7.7% year-on-year.

Final quarter financials also pinpoint potential weaknesses of Drahi’s managerial philosophy – buy lavishly, run up debt, slash costs – as the Cablevision deal pends regulatory approval.

To its credit, over Oct-Dec. 2015, for the first time since Drahi made waves, acquiring SFR from Vivendi, Altice has managed to stem the loss of mobile customers, which saw it lose 1 million clients over the first half of 2015, goosing its residential mobile customer base by 140,000 customers to 12.6 million. Like other telcos in Europe, Altice has flagged it will invest in building both its 4G and fiber optic networks.

Market concerns look to lie elsewhere, however. Last year, Altice bought 70% of St. Louis-based cable operator Suddenlink in May, paying $9.1 billion, then $17.7 billion for New York’s Cablevision. Company net debt mountain is nearly €50 billion ($56 billion).

“My main worry is that Altice is pilling up new debts again and, needing increasingly more cash to pay back debt, may push Numericable into a direction were it shouldn’t be,” said François Godard, an analyst at Enders Analysis.

But the weak side of Altice, if Numericable, which Drahi has owned for a decade, is anything to go by, is “marketing, content and customer experience,” he added. A large question is whether Drahi will transfer this faults to Cablevision. SFR has indeed become a byword in France for underwhelming customer experience. In November, Altice bid aggressively, paying reportedly over €300 million ($333 million) to snag rights to English Premier League soccer rights in France.  It will need to step up that content drive to really stand apart from its competitors in content. As many observers have commented, Drahi’s heart may be more in cutting than building.

More Film

  • Michael B. Jordan Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Team for Monster Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan is producing a creature feature, billiards champ Cisero Murphy is getting a movie, the sixth Terminator movie gets a title, and Graham King receives an honor. PROJECT UNVEILED New Regency and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society are partnering on an untitled monster movie from “Kong: Skull Island” [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage to Star in Martial Arts Actioner 'Jiu Jitsu'

    Nicolas Cage will star in the martial arts actioner “Jiu Jitsu,” based on the comic book of the same name. The cast will also include Alain Moussi, who stars in the “Kickboxer” franchise. Dimitri Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab and directing from a script he wrote with Jim McGrath. Highland Film Group is handling [...]

  • Chinese success of Thai film "Bad

    Chinese, Thai Shingles Pact for Co-Production Fund at FilMart

    A deal to establish a 100 million yuan ($14.9 million) co-production fund between China and Thailand was struck at FilMart on Tuesday to help launch TV and film projects that will appeal to Chinese and Southeast Asian audience. The deal that was struck by China’s Poly Film Investment Co., TW Capital from Thailand and Thai [...]

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara's Ouster Kicks Off a Week of Major Disruption in the Media Business

    The sudden ouster of Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara kicked off what is likely to go down as one of the most extraordinary weeks in Hollywood history, spelling enormous turmoil and transition across the media landscape. In addition to the news about Tsujihara, which comes amid a wider shake-up of leadership at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, [...]

  • Buddha in Africa

    More than Half of Films at Hot Docs Film Festival Are Directed By Women

    More than half of the films playing at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, are directed by women, the Canadian event said Tuesday. The festival’s 26th edition, which runs April 25-May 5, will screen 234 films, with 54% of the directors being women. In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films receiving their world [...]

  • Korean Distributors Fight for Box Office

    Korean Distributors Fight for Box Office Market Share

    Korean distributors are having to fight ever harder for their share of Korea’s theatrical market share. Threats on the horizon include a slide in the performance of local movies, consolidation, the arrival of new players and the challenge from streaming services. South Korea’s theatrical box office is now bigger than that of France or Germany despite [...]

  • Korean Distributors Learn to Downsize in

    Korean Distributors Learn to Downsize in Saturated Market

    In 2018, the Korean film business stumbled, as local films made with blockbuster budgets and targeting the usual high seasons of Chuseok and Christmas last year failed to deliver blockbuster earnings.  So Korean distributors have embraced some tactics to enhance their bottom lines.  Genre films “Monstrum,” “Fengshui,” “The Negotiation,” “Take Point,” “Swing Kids” and “Drug King” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content