Sunday, 20 August 2017

Now Altice has its eye on Charter

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom
Thursday 10 August 17

Cable group reportedly has bankers, lawyers working on a bid.

Following recent speculation that Japan's Softbank was preparing to bid for cable company Charter, Altice is now said to have thrown its hat into the ring. Sources cited by CNBC on Wednesday claimed that Luxembourg…

Following recent speculation that Japan's Softbank was preparing to bid for cable company Charter, Altice is now said to have thrown its hat into the ring.

Sources cited by CNBC on Wednesday claimed that Luxembourg-based Altice, and its U.S. arm Altice USA, are working on a bid of their own, but have yet to approach Charter with a proposal.

According to the report, Altice has put bankers and lawyers to work on an offer; however, the sources said it might struggle to win over Charter shareholders when it comes to the price, and the volume of Altice USA stock potentially on the table.

The rumours come a little over a week after Charter said it had no interest in merging with Softbank's U.S. arm, Sprint.

According to various reports last week, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son planned to buy the remaining 15% of Sprint it doesn't already own, then buy Charter in a cash and stock deal with a view to combining it with Sprint to form a new entity that would be majority owned by Softbank.

Following Charter's rejection, subsequent reports claimed Son has prepared a $65 billion plan to buy Charter outright.

For its part, Altice is a relative newcomer to the U.S. market compared to Softbank, having bought its way in via the 2015 acquisitions of Suddenlink and Cablevision.

While buying another cableco in Charter would give it even greater scale and no doubt offers attractive synergies, it also represents an opportunity to add to its already hefty net debt pile, which stood at nearly €50 billion at the end of June.

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