Altice Secures Its U.S. Foothold As It Completes $9.1B Suddenlink Deal

French telecom giant Altice now owns the No. 7 U.S. cable company: It just closed its $9.1 billion deal to buy 70% of Suddenlink, which has 1.45 million residential customers in 17 states.

The cable company’s former CEO, Jerry Kent, has made an investment in Altice USA and became chairman of a new Advisory Council, with other members to be named later. Altice is eager to become a major player here, and is waiting for federal approval of its $17.7 billion deal to buy Cablevision.

Kent, a popular exec in cable, will focus on his management company Cequel III. Its projects include data center company TierPoint, which today announced that two former Suddenlink execs just became investors and joined its management team.

Altice says that CEO Dexter Goei will also be executive chairman of Altice USA. Other execs include co-president and CFO Charles Steward and co-president and COO Hakim Boubazine. Altice Group COO Michel Combes will coordinate U.S. operations with the rest of the company.

“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,” Goei says.

Altice bought its 70% stake from Suddenlink shareholders BC Partners, CPP Investment Board and Suddenlink management. CPP Investment Board will continue to own 15% of the voting shares and 11.8% of the equity with BC Partners holding on to 15% of the votes and 18.2% of the equity.

Altice founder Patrick Drahi controls the company and will indirectly control 44.9% of the Suddenlink votes and equity. Altice has about 34.5 million worldwide customers in voice, video, and broadband.

The FCC cleared the way for the deal on Friday when it decided that “the likely public interest benefits
outweigh any potential public interest harms.”

Altice vowed to increase Suddenlink’s investment in broadband, including in many rural areas. Regulators noted that about 85% of Suddenlink’s local franchises have fewer than 2,000 homes.


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