European media and telecoms investment group Altice has agreed a two-stage deal to buy up to 55% in French alternative fixed line and broadband provider Completel Europe via Altice B2B France, its 51%-owned joint venture vehicle, 49% owned by UK-based private equity fund Cinven. The deal values Completel at EUR723.7 million (USD987.6 million). Altice B2B France will acquire an initial 21% of Completel at EUR35-EUR35.5 per share, then, subject to certain conditions, another 34% at EUR35.5 a share. By 17 September at the latest, the buyer will launch an offer for the remaining shares of Completel at EUR35.5 each. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database says that Altice and Cinven already control a significant slice of the French cable broadband market, including the country’s largest cable TV operator, the YPSO/Numericable group, which was created as a result of the acquisition of several cable operators, namely: Est Videocommunication, France Telecom Cable, TDF Cable, NC Numericable, UPC France and Noos, Coditel Brabant and Coditel Luxembourg. Cinven won approval from the European Commission for its purchase of UPC France for USD1.59 billion in July 2006. The deal included merging the operations of UPC-Noos and Numericable. Cinven completed the acquisition of Noos via French cableco Altice One in September 2006. The purchase of Completel should see the group expand its footprint to new areas via the operator’s DSL network. Completel specialises in business and wholesale services. It generated a 2006 net loss of EUR38 million on revenues of EUR233 million.