09 January 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Altice owner Patrick Drahi has reversed several years of transatlantic takeovers by deciding to separate out the US operation into a new company.
Group shareholders will be given shares in the new Altice
USA, which includes cable operators Suddenlink and Cablevision.
Altice bought control of Suddenlink in 2015 for $9.1 billion and Cablevision – which uses the Optimum
brand – in 2016 for $17.7 billion.
Drahi will continue to be the biggest shareholder in both
Altice USA and Altice Europe, which includes French mobile
operator SFR as well as PT Telecom, the former Portugal Telecom.
Altice bought control of SFR from Vivendi in 2014 for €17
billion and later acquired the rest of the company in stages.
Drahi has 52.5% of both operations.
Drahi said last night: "The separation will allow both Altice
Europe and Altice USA to focus on their respective operations
and execute against their strategies, deliver value for
shareholders, and realise their full potential. Both operations
will have the fundamental Altice Model at their heart through
my close personal involvement as well as that of the historic
Drahi said he will serve as president of the board of Altice
Europe and chairman of the board of Altice USA.
Dennis Okhuijsen will serve as CEO and a director of Altice
Europe with all corporate functions and country managers
reporting into him. Dexter Goei, who had been group CFO, will
continue to serve as CEO and a director of Altice USA. Both
will report to Patrick Drahi. Michel Combes, CEO of Altice
group until November 2017, has just been appointed CFO of
Altice Europe will reorganise its structure comprising Altice
France (including French overseas territories), Altice
International and a newly formed Altice Pay TV subsidiary. This
will include integrating Altice’s support services
businesses into their respective markets and bundling Altice
Europe’s premium content activities into one
separately funded operating unit.
Altice group’s ownership of Altice Technical
Services US will be transferred to Altice USA prior to
completion of the separation for a nominal consideration.
"At the core of our strategy is the operational and financial
turnaround in France and Portugal," said Drahi, hinting at some
future sell-offs: "In parallel, we have a clear plan to further
strengthen our long-term balance sheet position as we execute our non-core asset
disposals," he said.
In the US, he said, "we have a full operational agenda to
deliver best-in-class services to our customers, drive
innovation and advance our fibre investment strategy. The new
organisation structure will enable us to focus even more on
executing this agenda while enhancing transparency for our