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Altice boss Drahi reportedly preparing US IPO registration

Patrick Drahi

Patrick Drahi

Altice boss Patrick Drahi is preparing to kick of the process of floating a minority stake in his US operation by the end of this month, according to French press reports.

According to financial daily Les Echos, Altice is preparing to publish its IPO registration by the end of April ahead of the flotation of a minority stake in Altice USA.

Reuters meanwhile reported at the end of last week that the cable and telecom group had hired Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Citi to lead the IPO.

Citing two unnamed sources, Reuters reported that two existing Altice USA shareholders, private equity outfit BC Partners and Canadian pension fund CPPIB, which together hold about 30%, would use the IPO to reduce their stakes slightly, with Altice itself seeking to retain its existing 70% stake.

The IPO will give Altice access to funds to pursue further acquisitions in the US, and could also be used to pay down the considerable debts raised during the acquisition of cable operators Suddenlink and Cablevision, which has made Altice the number four US cable operator behind Comcast. Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications.

In its Annual report, published at the end of last week, Altice reiterated that it is “exploring the possibility of an initial public offering of a minority interest in Altice USA” and cautioned once again that “the structure or timing of any such IPO is still uncertain and no assurance can be given that an IPO will be completed”.

Altice also plans to invest significantly in Suddenlink and Cablevision’s networks, with a commitment to deliver a next-generation fibre-to-the-home network capabile of 10Gbps speeds across also of the Cablevision footprint and part of the Suddenlink footprint.

Separately, Altice confirmed that it planned to invest further in 4G and fibre in France, and in fibre in Portugal, with a plan to cover 22 million homes in France with fibre by 2022 and 5.3 million in Portugal by 2020.

The telecom group is also planning to implement a new voluntary redundancy plan at SFR in France in July.