Altice is scoping a bid for number two US cable operator Charter Communications, according to reports. CNBC claims Altice is working with banks to finance a cash and shares offer.
Altice would reportedly seek to finance a large part of the deal with debt, but it is by no means certain Liberty Media, which owns 20.5 per cent of Charter, and 25 per cent of the voting rights, would countenance an offer unless it was all cash. Bid value could be around $185 billion (€158bn), the stock market plus debt value of Charter. Altice is valued at around US$32 billion, while Altice USA has a market capitalisation of around US$23 billion. Both are heavily indebted already.
Charter beat Altice to take control of Time Warner Cable in 2016 in a deal that valued the latter at $78.7 billion, folding Bright House Networks, another operator it was acquiring at the same time, into the combined entity.
Altice subsequently acquired Cablevision, which it rebranded as Optimum, and filed a $1.92 billion IPO in June 2017.