Altice not “ready” for Time Warner Cable deal

<p>US cable group Charter Communications agreed to buy TWC for $56 billion.</p>

Patrick Drahi, the owner of European telecoms group Altice, has revealed the company will not bid for Time Warner Cable, as was recently reported in the media. He said this is because his company lacked management resources to digest such a big deal in a market it had only recently entered, Reuters report.

"I didn't follow up on the exchanges we had on Time Warner Cable (TWC) that were mentioned in the media because we were not ready," Mr Drahi told a French parliamentary hearing today (May 27th). He said a deal would have been too much to take on: "We make quick choices and we are ambitious but I won’t grow in a bulimic way and risk the future of my company."

People familiar with Altice’s thinking told the Financial Times last week that Mr Drahi had been serious in his pursuit of TWC, the second-largest US cable group behind Comcast. They said Altice had lined up financing from banks to support a possible bid.

Altice on a deal spree

Instead, US number three cable group Charter Communications agreed yesterday to buy TWC for $56 billion (£36.5 billion).

Altice has bought several telecom and cable companies in a 36-billion-euro deal spree in the past 18 months. It has recently purchased US regional cable firm Suddenlink Communications for $9.1 billion. The company is planning to earn half of its revenue in the United States in a bid to diversify risk.

The group is the parent company of French cable operator Numericable, and has already invested in 2014 in daily newspaper Libération. Patrick Drahi also masterminded Numericable's acquisition of larger mobile rival SFR and is in the process of acquiring Portugal Telecom.

Since it first listed last year, Altice’s share price has gone up 320 per cent and the group has a market capitalisation of just under €30 billion.

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