The FCC has approved Altice NV's $9.1 billion purchase of a controlling interest in Suddenlink Communications, clearing Patrick Drahi's European telecom conglomerate to close on the purchase of the St. Louis-based cable operator.
With the clearance, which followed the Justice Department's sign-off on antitrust concerns, Altice takes control of the nation's seventh largest cable operator, with 1.5 million customers spread across 17 states.
The deal was originally announced back in May.
"Based on our careful review of the record, we find the transaction is unlikely to result in any significant public interest harms," the FCC said. "We find that the transaction is likely to result in some public interest benefits of increased investment in local networks facilities and broadband services in Suddenlink's service territory."
Still in regulatory motion for Altice is its $17.7 billion purchase of New York's Cablevision (NYSE: CVC).
"We offer our congratulations to Altice and Suddenlink for completing their transaction and wish both companies success as the transition work proceeds full speed ahead," said National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President and CEO Michael Powell in a statement. "We also welcome Altice to the U.S. cable industry and look forward to working with a new company that can offer fresh insight and perspective to us."
Powell also acknowledged Suddenlink CEO Jerry Kent, who is stepping down at the close of huge deal.
"On a more personal note and on behalf of every NCTA employee, I want to express my deepest gratitude to Jerry Kent and his management team for their outstanding contributions to the cable industry and efforts to make Suddenlink one of the best companies in America," Powell added. "Jerry has been stalwart leader and effective advocate for the cable industry for many years and we will miss his presence, personality and spirit. Our best wishes to him and his family as they embark on a new phase in life."
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