Patrick Drahi said he would prefer to sell stakes of Altice’s European carriers to private equity investors rather than industrial or strategic partners, as the billionaire weighs options for reducing debt.
(Bloomberg) — Patrick Drahi said he would prefer to sell stakes of Altice’s European carriers to private equity investors rather than industrial or strategic partners, as the billionaire weighs options for reducing debt.
The comments came during a meeting with investors in New York on Thursday, an unofficial transcript of which was seen by Bloomberg. An Altice spokesperson confirmed its accuracy and declined to comment.
The company has hired advisers in all geographies to consider selling equity stakes or debt in Altice’s units, as reported by Bloomberg.
Lenders to Altice have been scrutinizing efforts to reduce the group’s heavy debt loads, in the face of a surge in borrowing costs and looming debt maturities. The network of businesses includes Altice France, Altice International — which has operations in Portugal, Israel and the Dominican Republic — as well as the listed Altice USA. It follows a challenging summer for Altice, which has been grappling with the fallout from a criminal corruption probe in Portugal targeting key figures connected to the business.
In New York, Drahi also said he is open to selling Altice Portugal. He said that after years of building out the fiber network there, he’s ready to “give the leadership to someone else” if they offered “the right price.” The company had previously considered a sale in 2021, people familiar with the matter said at the time.
Dennis Okhuijsen, a senior adviser to Altice, listed possible asset sales in France, including its data centers, a stake in fiber construction unit XpFibre, and its media assets, which he described as “high value,” according to the transcript. The group owns media outlets including TV news channel BFM and radio station RMC, which several investors including French billionaire Xavier Niel have been circling.
Okhuijsen’s comments, first reported by French news outlet L’Informe, appear to contradict those of Altice France Chief Executive Officer Arthur Dreyfuss. He told employee representatives earlier on Thursday that Altice’s media assets were not for sale, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private.
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