European-based media mega-giant Altice N.V. announced Tuesday that it has completed its purchase of Bethpage-based Cablevision Systems Corp., which owns Newsday, amNewYork and News 12, for $17.7 billion.
Altice made its initial offer to acquire the company on Sept. 16, 2015, estimating that the sale would go through by the second quarter of this year after getting the required regulatory approval. In May, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that the deal “serves the public interest.” Last week the New York State Public Service commission approved the purchase with conditions that it estimated could provide $243 million in benefits to New York consumers.
By combining Cablevision’s 3.1 million customers in the tri-state region and the nearly 1.5 million customers of Suddenlink Communications, the St. Louis, Missouri-based company that Altice acquired last December for $9.1 billion, Altice USA becomes the fourth largest cable operator in the U.S.
Billionaire tycoon Patrick Drahi, who founded Altice in 2002, said the Cablevision acquisition was “a crucial step” to the company’s growth.
“We are very excited about our U.S. business and the opportunities we see in this market,” Drahi said in a statement. “We will accelerate network investments and bring innovative products and services to U.S. customers by leveraging our global operational expertise, scale and resources.”
He had kind words to say about Cablevision’s now former owners, the Dolans.
“I wish to also thank the Dolan family for entrusting us with their life’s work at Cablevision, where they have developed under their pioneering stewardship one of America’s pre-eminent cable operations with best-in-class management talent.”
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Drahi’s favorable sentiments about Cablevision’s employees were echoed by Dexter Goei, president of Altice N.V., and chairman and chief executive officer of Altice USA.
“Our very talented employees have great energy and enthusiasm,” Goei said in a statement, “and we are confident that altogether we will help to build Altice USA to the benefit of our customers and the local communities that we serve.”
Naming its new executive leadership team, Altice USA said that Patrick Dolan would remain head of News 12 Networks.
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“To meet our customers’ content and information needs, the company through News 12 also offers hyper-local news and programming created specifically for the communities we serve,” said the new company in its press release.
There was no comment about the fate of Newsday, despite requests.
The sale doesn’t include Madison Square Garden Co., which under the umbrella of MSG Sports, owns the New York Knicks, New York Rangers and New York Liberty.