(Adds context, background)
By Anjali Athavaley and Mathieu Rosemain
NEW YORK/PARIS, April 11 Altice USA, the cable
operator that Netherlands-based Altice NV put together
by acquiring Cablevision and Suddenlink Communications, on
Tuesday filed for an initial public offering that seeks to raise
$1 billon to $2 billion, according to a source familiar with the
Going public allows Altice's founder, French billionaire
Patrick Drahi, to expand his budding U.S. cable empire by giving
Altice USA public stock it can use to help finance more
Altice USA will need all the financial firepower it can
muster to be competitive for U.S. acquisitions with rivals
Charter Communications Inc and Comcast Corp
as a wave of mergers is expected to sweep the wireless
and telecom sector.
Potential acquisition targets for Altice, such as regional
provider Cable One Inc, are trading at high valuations
with takeover speculation baked into their stock prices,
Last week John Malone's Liberty Interactive Corp
said it would acquire Alaska-based cable provider General
Communication Inc for $1.12 billion.
Reuters also reported that WaveDivision Holdings LLC is
exploring a sale that its private equity owners hope will value
the regional U.S. provider of cable TV, internet and telephone
service at more than $2 billion, including debt.
Altice USA became the fourth-largest U.S. cable provider
after its parent company acquired Suddenlink in 2015 and
Cablevision last year. It serves 4.9 million U.S. customers,
according to the company's filing with the U.S. Securities and
Altice is moving to list its U.S. subsidiary just as the IPO
market is showing signs of life after a listless 2016.
Snapchat's owner, Snap Inc, raised $3.4 billion in an
IPO earlier this year.
Altice USA's current minority shareholders, London-based
private equity firm BC Partners and the Canadian Pension Plan
Investment Board, which jointly own about 30 percent of Altice
USA, are ready to lower their combined holdings. Altice is
expected to keep its 70 percent stake in Altice USA intact,
according to the source.
JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup
and Goldman Sachs are the banks serving as joint
book-runners on Altice's U.S initial public offering.
(Additional reporting by Liana B. Baker and Gwenaelle Barzic;
Editing by Bernard Orr and Dan Grebler)