Cablevision Agrees To Sell Itself For $18 Billion To European Telecom Giant Altice

cablevisionsaleWhile most U.S. cable/Internet operators have been looking at their fellow Americans as merger partners, New York-based Cablevision has made a $17.7 billion deal to sell itself to Altice, a Netherlands-based telecom titan.

Cablevision, which serves more than 3 million customers in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, confirmed reports on Wednesday night that it had reached an agreement with Altice that would pay $34.90 in cash for each Cablevision Class A and Class B share. That’s about 20% higher than the most recent share price.

This would mean that someone other than a member of the Dolan family — whose billionaire patriarch Charles Dolan founded the company in 1973 — will be in control of Cablevision and its Optimum broadband business. Altice will also acquire the Newsday newspaper and its associated brands.

While it took around 18 months for U.S. regulators to approve the recent merger of AT&T and DirecTV (and around the same amount of time to spoil the Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable), Cablevision and Altice are expecting their wedding to be finalized in the first half of 2016.

This acquisition will likely face less scrutiny than either of those deals. Altice is a relatively new entrant into the U.S. market, having recently agreed to acquire 70% of St. Louis-based Suddenlink.

Additionally, a number of other Dolan-run businesses — including the New York Rangers NHL team, Madison Square Garden, and AMC Networks — are not part of the deal.

In a statement from Cablevision, the Dolan family says that after more than 40 years of running the company, “the time is right for new ownership of Cablevision and its considerable assets.”

“As a family business we are proud to be entrusted by the Dolan family with the ownership of Cablevision and look forward to continuing the pioneering path they have paved for us,” reads a statement from Altice founder and president Patrick Drahi.

The company’s CEO, Dexter Goei, describes the Cablevision acquisition as the “next step in Altice’s long-term oriented strategy in the U.S., one of the largest and fastest growing communications markets in the world.”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.