Altice looking for private equity help to buy Charter, report says

Charter headquarters building

Partick Drahi’s Altice NV is reportedly looking to its private equity partners for help in putting together an offer to buy Charter Communications.

According to Bloomberg, citing individuals “with knowledge” of the matter, Drahi may approach London’s BC Partners and Toronto-based Canada Pensions about investing alongside Altice in a deal to buy the No. 2 U.S. cable company.

Neither Altice or the private equity managers are commenting.

Altice’s chance of enticing Charter is regarded by analysts as very slim. Charter’s market capitalization dwarfs Altice’s at around $120 billion versus $36 billion. With debt, the purchase price could approach $185 billion.

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Charter’s biggest investor, Liberty Media impresario John Malone, is reported to be cool to the idea of a stock-laden deal in which he’d end up owning a lot of equity in a company with a huge debt. 

Private equity help—along with a weak dollar—could make a difference for Drahi, however. 

It was BC Partners and Canada Pension that got Altice into the U.S. cable game, selling their 70% stakes in Suddenlink Communications to the European conglomerate for $9.1 billion.

Weeks later, the pair invested $1 billion in Altice’s $17.7 billion takeover of Cablevision. Part of that agreement, Bloomberg said, was a clause that said the private equity firms had to work with Altice on a future U.S. deal.