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Drahi “not ready” for TWC deal, but plans further US expansion

AlticeAltice boss Patrick Drahi has said he was “not ready” to make a bid for Time Warner Cable as part of his international expansion plans after a two-hour discussion with Time Warner Cable CEO Bob Marcus.

Speaking at a French national assembly hearing yesterday, Drahi said such a large acquisition was a step too far for Altice at this stage. However, he said there would be further opportunities to expand in the US cable market following its acquisition of number seven player Suddenlink.

Drahi indicated that a number of smaller acquisitions in the US market could serve Altice better. He said that acquiring five smaller operators could deliver an operation that was the equal of Time Warner Cable.

Addressing concerns about the level of debt amassed by Altice-owned Numericable-SFR, Drahi told French parliamentarians that the level of debt was on a par with its competitors. He said that accumulating debt was not a problem for companies in a growth phase, and that it was companies in decline that focused on reducing their debt.

Addressing reports of low morale among Numericable-SFR employees and discontent among suppliers, Drahi said that any problems were the result of a lack of cost control when the company was owned by Vivendi. He said that the company had no interest in its suppliers losing money.