Altice Europe, the debt-ridden cable company, has announced that SFR FTTH, alongside its consortium of financial investors (led by OMERS Infrastructure and including Allianz Capital Partners and AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets), has entered into an exclusivity agreement with Cube Infrastructure Fund and Partners Group (acting on behalf of its clients) regarding the acquisition of 100 per cent of French fibre wholesale operator Covage for a total cash consideration of €1 billion.
Covage is the fourth largest fibre wholesale operator in France with 2.4 million homes to be passed (including 0.8 million homes already built) which will be added to SFR FTTH footprint of more than 5.4 million secured homes to be passed (including 1.7 million homes built). Covage will become part of SFR FTTH, resulting in a total of around 8 million secured homes to be passed (including 2.5 million homes already built). With this acquisition SFR FTTH continues to execute on its strategy to meaningfully expand its footprint, with more households still yet to be awarded as well as selective opportunities for consolidation.
Patrick Drahi, founder of Altice, said: “I am very pleased that we are further expanding the leading FTTH wholesaler in Europe. We are extremely proud to integrate Covage, a great company, with a portfolio of areas in France complementary to ours. With this transaction we also bring onboard excellent local relationships. We continue to be focused on deleveraging Altice Europe notably thanks to growing revenues and EBITDA which will be supplemented with disposal proceeds. As I have explained previously, we are in advanced discussions with several parties in relation to our Portuguese fibre asset. This process is supported by the significant appetite for fibre in Europe: clearly demonstrated by the present transaction which has been strongly supported by our financial partners in SFR FTTH.”