Altice seeks €750M through IPO to fuel growth ambitions

Altice said it plans to raise around €750 million ($1 billion) through a listing of its shares on NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam. The initial public offering comes after reports December that the company, which operates mobile and cable services in a number of markets, was planning to go public in order to seek further sources of financing.

While the company said the proceeds would be exclusively used to pay down debt, executives said during media briefings this week that the listing would give Altice more flexibility to make acquisitions in future.

"Our primary reason to go public is to have a form of currency to do further acquisitions and we can only do that by tapping into public equity markets," CEO Dexter Goei said, Reuters reported.

Founded by entrepreneur Patrick Drahi, Altice has gradually built up its operations through a series of acquisitions over the past decade, the latest being in the Dominican Republic, including Orange Dominicana for $1.435 billion (€1.06 billion) and cable operator Tricom.

Now, the company has ambitions for further growth on a global scale, with a clear focus on cable as well as mobile operations.

"We are the Liberty Global of the smaller telecoms opportunities today," Goei said, according to Bloomberg. "One of the reasons we're going to the capital markets is we'd like to be able to do larger operations."

Goei told reporters that Altice is open to acquisition opportunities in all of its markets and would focus on consolidating its existing assets. He added that Vivendi's SFR or Bouygues Telecom are possible targets in France, while Altice is interested in mobile operators in Belgium and cable operators in Luxembourg.

In Europe, Altice already owns a 40 per cent stake in French cable operator Numericable and also operates a number of operating units under its Altice VII holding. Altice VII groups together the company's fixed and mobile activities in Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Israel, French Overseas Territories and the Dominican Republic, while also offering B2B services in Switzerland.

The company runs HOT Cable and HOT Mobile in Israel; offers TV, fixed-line and broadband services in Belgium and Luxembourg under the Numericable brand; sells mobile services in Belgium under Coditel, an MVNO operator on the Mobistar network; sells fixed-line, TV and broadband services under the Cabovisão brand in Portugal; sells fixed-line, TV and broadband services under the Numericable brand in French Overseas Territories, Guadeloupe and Martinique; and operates Orange Dominicana and Tricom in the Dominican Republic.

Like many operators in Europe, the company is interested in a strategy that would allow it to bundle cable TV, broadband and voice services with mobile services, as illustrated by its recent move in the Dominican Republic. So far it is focusing on small markets where it can build a brand and develop service strategies.

In the nine months to the end of September, Altice's adjusted earnings before interest, tax, and depreciation were €1.02 billion. Revenues increased by 1.1 per cent to €2.4 billion, with France providing 45 per cent of sales and Israel 27 per cent.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this FT article (sub. req.)

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