Altice's Cablevision purchase gets sign-off from FCC

Altice NV is in regulatory striking distance of closing its $17.7 billion purchase of Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), gaining approval from the FCC, and near a sign-off from New York City officials.

"Applications to assign and transfer control of domestic and international section 214 authorizations, wireless licenses, and cable television relay service station licenses are granted subject to the condition specified herein," said an FCC approval order, which described the deal as being "in the public interest."

The order added, "We find that the transaction is likely to result in Altice fulfilling its stated U.S. business plans to improve Cablevision's nearly ubiquitous broadband offerings in its service territories by increasing available speeds and making broadband service affordable to low-income customers. We find that Altice's commitment to the NY PSC to 'upgrade the Cablevision network so that all existing customer locations are able to receive broadband service of up to 300 Mbps' provides sufficient assurance that all customers will benefit from enhanced broadband service post transaction."

Altice said in a statement, obtained by Reuters, that the approval order "recognizes the benefits that the proposed merger will bring to consumers in the U.S. We continue to make good progress toward a transaction closing in the second quarter of this year."

The FCC's approval comes as the New York Post reports that Big Apple officials are ready to sign off on the deal, too. 

Cablevision serves 3.1 million customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Altice has promised to cut $900 million in costs for the MSO within the first three years of ownership. 

Europe's Altice, which recently purchased broadband companies in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Israel and Portugal, recently closed on a $9.1 billion purchase of U.S. cable operator Suddenlink Communications. 

For more:
- read this FCC filing
- read this New York Post story
- read this Reuters story

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