Altice argues Cablevision purchase will level playing field in NY market, reduce vertical integration

Altice filed an application with the FCC for its proposed $17.7 billion purchase of Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), telling the regulatory agency that deal will help the MSO's position in a crowded New York market while increasing competition overall.

"There is no anticompetitive effect from the transaction," Altice said in its filing, noting that Cablevision serves about 3.1 million customers in the most competitive market in the U.S.

Fending off competition from Verizon FiOS (NYSE: VZ) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Altice said Cablevision and its customers "will benefit from Altice's expertise. Altice operates cable and wireless systems worldwide, and is a leader in technical innovation, network systems, IT and management."

Altice added that its size will provide Cablevision with "extensive access to capital and the ability to pursue innovation on a significantly larger scale, distributing the benefits over a much larger global customer base."

The added scale for Cablevision will come, the European telecom conglomerate said, without the "deleterious effect of substantial increased domestic consolidation in cable or broadband."

Cablevision serves about 2.65 million pay-TV customers, about 2.6 percent of the U.S. market. Altice has also simultaneously proposed paying $9.1 billion to acquire a controlling interest in Suddenlink and its 1.5 million subs. The combined asset would control around 3.5 million pay-TV customers, making it the fourth largest cable operator in the U.S.

This compares to about 24.41 million for the newly combined AT&T/DirecTV (NYSE: T), and 17.34 million for what would be a combined Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), TWC and Bright House Networks. 

Altice noted that since AMC Networks would remain under the control of Cablevision's founding family, the Dolans, the deal actually helps break up vertical integration. 

Drilling down further into its plans for Cablevision and its network, Altice identified operational improvements it could make: "In Cablevision's case, one expected result [of the merger] would be the removal or reduction from the network of coaxial RF amplifiers, which consume substantial electricity and can be the cause of difficult-to-detect service outages (RF amplifier failures)," the filing said. 

For more:
- read this Altice FCC filing

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