Patrick Drahi’s Altice ‘may float US cable operations’

09 December 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

French-owned group Altice has announced it is looking into selling shares in its US operations that it bought only a year ago.

The news, in an official release from the company’s head office, comes only days after Altice USA said it was planning a multi-billion dollar investment in upgrading its cable network to fibre-to-the-home.

Altice, founded by French telecoms entrepreneur Patrick Drahi, said that it is “exploring the possibility of an initial public offering (IPO) of a minority interest in Altice USA”.

The US business mainly consists of two cable businesses, Cablevision, bought for $17 billion, and Suddenlink, bought for $9 billion, in 2015. Cablevision now operates under the Optimum brand. After the two purchases Dexter Goei, now CEO of Altice USA, said the company would pause its acquisitions.

Altice warned today: “No decisions have been taken at this point on the structure or timing of any IPO, and no assurance can be given that an IPO will be pursued.”

Altice owns French cable operator Numericable and mobile operator SFR, as well as Portugal Telecom, the former Orange Dominican Republic and a number of other operators worldwide.