Let the games continue. Altice USA and Fox reached a new carriage agreement just before a Friday midnight deadline that would have blacked out Optimum programming for New York area viewers. That would have been disastrous for sports fans, who look forward to Fox’s NFL, college football, and Major League Baseball playoffs coverage in one of the busiest months of the year.
Altice USA tapped longtime Comcast executive Dennis Mathew to take over as CEO next month, as current chief Dexter Goei transitions to a new role as executive chairman of the board on Oct. 3. Mathew has spent more than 17 years at Comcast, holding a range of positions including executive director of Xfinity Home Product Management and VP and GM of Xfinity Home.
Altice USA Inc. is exploring the sale of Suddenlink, which provides cable and internet service in the south-central U.S., according to people familiar with the matter, as the telecommunications company seeks to pay down its massive debt load. Altice USA is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on the potential sale, which could fetch as much as $20 billion, said some of the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. The unit has about $1.3 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, some of the people said. Altice USA has begun soliciting interest from potential suitors, they said. The company could still decide to keep the division.
AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Altice USA have reached a new long-term renewal of their distribution agreement, sources familiar with the situation said. The agreement covers the former Turner cable networks including TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and truTV. Financial details were not disclosed.
What Happens Next For Tegna?
Altice USA said it has agreed to purchase Morris Broadband, a high-speed data, video and voice services provider based in North Carolina, in a deal that implies a $310 million enterprise value. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.
With its nearly $4 billion bid to acquire Atlantic Broadband all but a memory, Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei told analysts Wednesday that the company still wants to grow via acquisitions, and has its eye on a handful of potential “bite-sized” deals.
Cox Media Group and Altice USA/Suddenlink announced that they have reached a new multi-year retransmission consent deal for the ongoing carriage of CMG stations on Suddenlink lineups in Tulsa, Okla.; Memphis; Spokane, Wash.; Eureka, Calif.; Greenville-Greenwood, Miss.; and Alexandria, La. The agreement means that Suddenlink customers will have access to CMG’s station content, including local news, weather, sports, traffic and entertainment. The parties thanked consumers “for their patience during this negotiation.”
The U.S. cable company wants to keep Cogeco’s U.S. business, Atlantic Broadband, for $3.6 billion and sell its Canadian business to rival Rogers Communications.
As an impasse with AT&T continues into a second week, CBS Corp. has reached a carriage deal with Altice USA, a major cable provider. The new deal covers retransmission consent for CBS-owned stations and the carriage of Showtime, CBS Sports Network, Pop TV and Smithsonian Channel on the Optimum and Suddenlink cable systems run by Altice. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Altice USA has signed a deal to buy the youth-skewing business news startup Cheddar for $200 million in cash. The acquisition will bolster the broadband and cable giant’s Altice News service as Cheddar offers youth-skewing news content around business, technology, culture and politics. Altice USA last year began offering Cheddar via its Altice One platform and was an early investor in the digital-first company.
The new multi-year contract covers television stations and cable net WGN America.
Altice USA’s cross-platform targeted ad firm a4 has rolled out Athena, a platform for targeted advertising campaign planning and execution. It uses audience data set across both TV and digital to analyze consumption patterns and determine optimal placement between screens. Those audience data sets include custom onboarded CRM files.
Fox Networks Group is sounding the alarm to viewers in a carriage dispute with cable operator Altice USA as a Sept. 30 contract deadline looms for FX, Fox Sports 1, Fox’s New York O&O and National Geographic Channels. Fox began airing warning spots on select channels on Altice USA systems Sunday in the New York City area to warn viewers of a potential blackout coming.
Altice USA has fired back at Starz over the cable network’s FCC request for emergency injunctive relief in the carriage standoff that is now in its fourth week. Starz has been dark on Altice USA systems since Jan. 1. Last week, Starz asked the FCC to order Starz-Encore channels back on Altice USA systems because the operator violated FCC rules regarding giving subscribers notice of a major programming change. Altice on Tuesday argued in its response to the FCC that Starz’ complaint “has no basis in fact, law or policy.”
As the Starz-Altice USA carriage dispute drags on, the Lionsgate-owned network has filed two separate petitions with the FCC that aim to force the cable company to restore it on New York-area Optimum systems.
Cable giant Altice, which owns the former Cablevision Systems and a controlling stake in Suddenlink in the U.S., is planning to spin off its U.S. unit. Dexter Goei will continue to serve as CEO and a director of Altice USA, reporting to Altice founder Patrick Drahi who will be chairman of Altice USA.
While Starz remains dark on Altice USA’s Optimum cable systems, the premium cable network has reached a new multi-year carriage deal with Verizon FiOS, Optimum’s rival in the New York metro area.
Last-minute negotiations over carriage rights for Starz and Encore on the Altice USA cable systems failed, resulting in the channels going dark as of the new year.
Patrick Drahi’s Altice NV is thinking about asking Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and BC Partners to help fund a potential bid to buy cable broadcaster Charter Communications, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The French telecom giant and its U.S. cable subsidiary, Altice USA, are working on an offer to buy Charter, but have not yet brought a purchase proposal to Charter or its advisers, according to people close to the situation. There’s no guarantee that Altice will engage, though the prospects seem likely. Charter, with $60 billion in debt and an expected purchase price that could reach or exceed $500 a share would represent an enterprise value of almost $200 billion.
Altice USA moved quickly. The No. 4 cable operator plans to go public Thursday, it says, following following an IPO that prices its shares at $30 apiece. That makes the sale worth $1.92 billion.
Altice advanced its plans to launch a U.S.-based stock today disclosing, in an SEC filing, it expects to sell about 46.6 million shares at between $27 and 31 a share — to be listed at the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “ATUS.” At $29 a share, the offering could raise $1.35 billion.
Altice USA, the cable operator created from Netherlands-based Altice NV’s acquisitions of Cablevision Systems and Suddenlink Communications, considers cable growth a priority as it explores ways to enter the wireless business, company officials said Tuesday.
Planting a flag in the U.S. media business for his European company, Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei will deliver a keynote during the NAB Show on April 25. The half-hour noontime address is titled “Global Growth and the Future of Media.” Goei oversees the newly formed U.S. operations for France’s Altice NV, created when the telecom conglomerate purchased Suddenlink Communications and Cablevision Systems in 2015. The combined asset is now the No. 4 cable operator in the U.S.