Altice Considers A Play For Charter Communications

Paterniano Del Favero
Agosto 9, 2017

The communications giant, which raised $1.9 billion in an IPO of its United States arm earlier this summer, is reportedly weighing a bid for Charter Communications.

After buying Cablevision for $17.7 billion past year to become the 4th largest cable provider in the country, Altice USA could rise to number 3 with an acquisition of Charter, only behind Time Warner and Comcast.

Charter, with a market capitalization of US$118 billion, would be a big fish to swallow, but Altice is accustomed to chasing larger companies, banking sources said.

The deal, if it goes through, would mark a significant change to the landscape of the telecommunications industry and be the latest example of consolidation. The cable provider bought New York-based Time Warner Cable for $56 billion, as well as Syracuse, N.Y. -based Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion.

The firm is led by CEO Thomas Rutledge, who had been the chief operating officer at Cablevision, which Altice acquired.

Altice and its founder Patrick Drahi have long had ambitions to expand in the USA, and with SoftBank's recent interest in making an offer to buy Charter, Drahi has made a decision to see if he can compete.

Altice, and its US cable subsidiary, Altice USA, have an offer in the works but have not yet brought a proposal to the table for Charter's board, according to the report, which cited people close to the situation.

It's also unclear according to CNBC whether Charter, which already has substantial debt, will accept a deal involving a substantial amount of stock from a company itself loaded with debt.

A deal with a USA giant like Charter also would give the French company more clout with content creators as the cable industry strives to compete with streaming services. Since then, SoftBank has reportedly been developing a bid to buy Charter outright.

Charter, based in Stamford, Conn., is now $60 billion in debt.

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