Altice to ‘pause’ US expansion… unless Cox goes on the market

25 Sep 2015

Altice Group CEO Dexter Goei has confirmed that the Netherlands-based telco will take a break from US deal-making, after the back-to-back acquisitions of Suddenlink (USD9.1 billion) and Cablevision (USD17.8 billion). Speaking to Bloomberg, Goei admitted: ‘We owe it to our investors, both on the debt and equity side, to pause on the pace of the acquisitions, particularly on the sizable ones … six to nine months is nothing. We may pause for two years because we still have a huge amount of organic growth internally’. However, Goei added a notable caveat to his statement, declaring: ‘The only thing that would make us scratch our heads is if Cox came up and said: I’m going to auction my business’.

Cox, currently the fourth largest cableco in the US, is a privately-held, family-controlled business, which has so far maintained its disinterest in joining the M&A merry-go-round. Company spokesman Todd Smith told Bloomberg: ‘We’ve been clear about our position: we are not for sale, though we are open to anything that would help us grow’.

Altice’s long-term US plan is likely to see the company move to acquire a wireless operator, company founder Patrick Drahi hinted recently, with both Sprint and T-Mobile US representing likely targets.

United States, Altice Europe, Cablevision Systems (Optimum), Cox Communications, Next Alt, Suddenlink Communications