Altice Completes Cablevision Acquisition To Become The No. 4 Operator

Cablevision is no more. Netherlands-based Altice just completed its $17.7 billion (including debt) acquisition of the colorful and often combative cable company that HBO-creator Charles Dolan launched in 1973 and since 1995 was run by his son, James.

With its previous purchase of Suddenlink, Altice is now the nation’s No. 4 cable operator with 4.3 million residential customers in 20 states, including a heavy concentration on Long Island and around New York City. It also picked up Newsday and a free daily publication, amNew York.

The Cablevision deal, announced in September, “marks a critical step in the development of the Altice Group,” company founder Patrick Drahi says. “We will accelerate network investments and bring innovative products and services to U.S. customers by leveraging our global operational expertise, scale and resources.”

The U.S. operation will be run by Dexter Goei. He says that his first objective is to integrate the operations “fostering their development through innovation and investment, and delivering on our plans to enhance the customer experience.”

Some analysts believe the company still wants to buy cable systems, possibly including Mediacom. Meanwhile, Altice has vowed to find $900 million in annual savings and synergies.

To accomplish that goal, the company probably will “have to cut certain programmers,” MoffettNathanson Research’s Craig Moffett said last month. “The cable business is a pretty simple one. There just aren’t that many other places to cut.”

Cablevision struggled as it faced intense competition, especially from Verizon’s FiOS. That led Moffett to wonder: “Did Altice overpay for a company that is barely growing, offers little in the way of a springboard for follow-on deals, and faces a brutal competitive set-up?”

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