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May 20, 2015 6:15 AM

Altice to buy US cable operator Suddenlink for $9.1 billion

The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) European cable and mobile phone operator Altice has marked its entry into the U.S. market with a deal to buy a controlling stake in Suddenlink Communications for $9.1 billion.

Luxembourg-based Altice SA said Wednesday it will buy 70 percent of Missouri-based cable TV provider Suddenlink with a combined debt and cash offer from existing owners BC Partners and CPP Investment Board, and company management.

Suddenlink serves cable subscribers in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Altice said Suddenlink is the 7th largest cable operator in the U.S. with 1.5 million residential and 90,000 business customers. It made $2.3 billion in revenue last year.

Altice already has operations in France, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, Israel and elsewhere.

It has grown through a series of acquisitions over the past dozen years, expanding from a small regional internet and cable provider in France's Alsace region to making a $18.5 billion acquisition last year of France's no. 2 mobile phone operator, SFR. Earlier this year, Altice also bought Portugal Telecom for $8.4 billion.

The company, controlled by founder Patrick Drahi, made a net loss of 552 million euros ($614 million) last year on revenue of 3.9 billion euros.

It makes 85 percent of its revenue in France, where it owns Numericable-SFR, which has 23 million mobile subscribers and 6.6 million residential broadband customers.

Altice said it expects the deal to be completed by the end of the year.


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