European cable operator Altice announces $1bn share sale plan

David Hellier
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ALTICE, a multinational cable and telecoms provider, yesterday outlined its intention to float on NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam.

The company’s executive chairman Patrick Drahi, as well as other members of the management team, will sell sufficient shares to leave the group with a free float of around 25 per cent. Currently Drahi and some other members of his team own 100 per cent of the group’s equity.

Altice said yesterday the proceeds would principally be used to reduce overall group indebtedness.

Drahi and the rest of the management have then agreed to a 365-day lock-up period during which they will not sell any further shares without the consent of the banks selling the deal, led by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

The group’s advisers said it chose to float on Euronext because management like the platform. An adviser added: “In addition the chief executive’s mother is Dutch as is the chief financial officer.”

Drahi said yesterday: “This listing will provide investors with the opportunity to acquire an interest in a high-quality multinational cable company with a proven track record of value-creative M&A and a strategy to explore value-creative M&A opportunities going forward.”

Altice said it has a proven track record of acquisitions. In the nine months ended September, Altice's adjusted earnings before interest, tax, and depreciation were €1.02bn (£846m), giving it a margin of 42.3 per cent. Revenues in the same period grew 1.1 per cent to €2.4bn, with France providing 45 per cent of sales and Israel 27 per cent. Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and HSBC are supporting the lead banks on the deal as joint bookrunners.

The Altice listing builds on growing confidence about initial public offerings (IPO) in Europe – a flurry last year more than doubled volumes to $34.9bn.