Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tuning Into Cablevision

"Cablevision selling itself for $17.7b" by Michael J. de la Merced New York Times   September 17, 2015

NEW YORK — Cablevision has agreed to sell itself to Altice, an acquisitive European telecommunications giant, for about $17.7 billion, including debt, people briefed on the matter said Wednesday. It is the latest deal to reshape the broadband and cable television landscape.

An announcement could be made Thursday, these people said.

SeeEurope’s Altice pushes into USA with Cablevision deal

The transaction would further realign an industry already in upheaval as cable and telecom companies seek greater scale and negotiating power with content providers.

But the takeover of Cablevision — one of the last trophies of the US cable industry and the longtime province of its founding family, the Dolans — could also draw significant concerns from regulators, particularly as control of the telecom market shrinks to fewer and fewer players.

Charter Communications, a cable operator with ties to billionaire John C. Malone, has already agreed to buy Time Warner Cable after its archrival Comcast failed to complete a deal. AT&T recently completed a $48.5 billion takeover of satellite television operator DirecTV.

And Altice, run by French billionaire Patrick Drahi, has already announced its intentions to build a US footprint, striking a $9.1 billion deal for Suddenlink Communications this spring. The European telecom had also briefly considered a run for Time Warner Cable itself. Moving across the Atlantic meant forcing its way into the huge US market, one unencumbered by the Continent’s fragmented national borders and regulators.

Adding Cablevision and its 3.1 million customers would let the European telecom vault into the top echelon of US cable companies, behind only the likes of Comcast and Charter....

Related: Parking the Theme of the Day 

I'm about to, yeah.

The big acquisition also raises concern about a foreign company gaining a huge tract of the domestic broadband and cable market. Such waters are relatively untested.

Analysts have long questioned whether the Dolans would be willing to sell Cablevision in a frenzy over cable assets. Now they have chosen to sell their prized asset to Drahi, an aggressive deal maker who has drawn comparisons to his former boss, Malone. Born in Morocco, he has long pursued business, gauging his success by his wealth.

Along the way, Drahi developed a reputation as a ruthlessly efficient operator who runs a lean business.