Cablevision to be sold to telecom company Altice for $17.7 billion


European telecommunications giant Altice has agreed to purchase New York cable provider Cablevision for $17.7 billion.

The deal was announced Thursday and will make Altice the fourth-largest cable provider in the United States.

“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,” said Altice founder and president Patrick Drahi.

The acquisition also includes Cablevision’s media properties — News12 Networks, Newsday and amNewYork — as well as its business services unit, Lightpath, and assumed debt. Altice executives said they want to keep Cablevision’s media assets, according to a Newsday report.

Cablevision marks the latest acquisition for the Netherlands-based company, which is seeking to expand in the United States. It  purchased Missouri cable company Suddenlink in May. Altice hopes to close on the Cablevision deal in the first half of 2016, subject to regulatory approval.

Altice had attempted to buy Time Warner Cable several months ago, according to media reports, but those offers were rebuffed.

“We are very excited about our acquisition of Cablevision, which has developed into a pre-eminent cable operator under the steady, long-term ownership of the Dolan Family,” said CEO Dexter Goei. “This acquisition, our second in the cable sector in the US, is the next step in Altice’s long-term oriented strategy in the US, one of the largest and fastest growing communications markets in the world.”

Cablevision had been owned by the Dolan family since it was founded in 1973 and serves more than 3.1 million residential and business customers across the New York metro area.

The Dolan family, will retain control of AMC Networks and The Madison Square Garden Company.

In a written statement, Cablevision CEO James Dolan said the family was “honored” to have provided for its customers during the transition from phone and television only to the Internet age.

“We believe that Patrick Drahi and Altice will be truly worthy successors, and we look forward to doing all we can to affect this transition for our customers and employees,” Mr. Dolan said. “We expect that Cablevision will be in excellent hands.”

The deal was struck Wednesday, when Cablevision entered into a “definitive agreement” with Altice, according to the European company. Altice will pay $34.90 in cash for each Cablevision Class A and Class B share, according to the statement.

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