Altice USA buys another cable company to expand its footprint

Altice USA logo amid crowd
Altice USA only added 7,000 broadband subscribers in the fourth quarter, which the company attributed to elevated churn early in the period. (Altice USA)

Altice USA, which operates cable service across its Optimum and Suddenlink brands, is buying another small cable company to keep growing its footprint.

The company announced a deal to acquire the assets of regional cable operator Service Electric Cable T.V. of New Jersey for $150 million in cash. The deal will extend the reach of Altice USA’s broadband, video, mobile and news offerings to thousands of additional homes and businesses in New Jersey. The transaction is expected to close by the third quarter of 2020.

The acquisition was announced along side the company’s fourth quarter results, which included a net loss of 44,000 video subscribers, bringing the company’s 2019 total video losses to about 107,000. Altice USA ended 2019 with a total video subscriber count of approximately 3.18 million.

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CEO Dexter Goei said the video losses put his company at a 3.3% rate of decline, which he said is in line with or better than what the video industry is seeing.

RELATED: Altice USA loses 32,000 video subscribers in Q3

“We continue to attribute part of this out-performance to Altice One, which has improved both our broadband Wi-Fi and video experience for customers and reduced churn,” said Goei, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “We’re mindful of the market backdrop with the increasing number of streaming and OTT services being marketed heavily, but we are positive about our relative positioning both as a high-quality broadband provider that enables the streaming video services and as an aggregator of linear and nonlinear video services.”

Altice USA has been pushing its Altice One next-generation platform, and said that it has now reached 543,000 unique Altice One customers as of the end 2019 (approximately 17% of total video customers, up from 9% at the end of 2018).

Altice USA only added 7,000 broadband subscribers in the fourth quarter, which the company attributed to elevated churn early in the period. It recorded 17,000 net additions in December, which helped to offset declines due to promotional roll-offs and BSS/OSS integration.

The company’s consolidated revenue stayed relatively flat, up 0.8% to $2.475 billion.

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