French billionaire Patrick Drahi’s Altice SA announced its foray into the U.S. cable market on Wednesday with a deal valued at $9.1 billion to acquire a controlling stake in Suddenlink Communications -- the seventh-largest cable company in the U.S.
Altice said, in a statement released Wednesday, that it would acquire 70 percent of Suddenlink from its existing shareholders -- private-equity firm BC Partners and CPP Investment Board. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015.
“Our investment in Suddenlink, our first in the cable sector in the US, opens an attractive industrial and strategic avenue for Altice in the US, one of the largest and fastest growing communications markets in the world,” Dexter Goei, Altice’s CEO, said, in the statement. St. Louis-based Suddenlink has approximately 1.5 million customers in 17 U.S. states.
Altice, which currently has operations in countries like Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland and Israel, in addition to France, is also holding talks to buy Time Warner Cable Inc -- the second-largest cable operator in the U.S. -- according to an earlier report by Reuters, which cited people familiar with the matter.
Shares of Altice were up 8.6 percent, trading at 124.2 euros at 10:10 a.m. in Amsterdam on Wednesday.