Cablevision shareholders withdraw suits over Altice purchase

A pair of lawsuits filed by Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) shareholders over the company's pending acquisition by Altice have been withdrawn. 

FierceCable obtained notices of proposed voluntary dismissal for the two suits, filed by Wilmington, Delaware law firm Ridgrodsky & Long on behalf of plaintiffs James Gould and Arnold Wandel. 

Calls to the attorney representing these plaintiffs, Brian Long, by FierceCable were not immediately returned. 

"Both of these cases were thoroughly without merit," read a Cablevision statement.

As for why the suit has been withdrawn, that remains a mystery. The order for dismissal clearly states that no settlement has been reached. 

"Because this dismissal is without prejudice as to the claims of the putative class, and plaintiff represents that no compensation in any form has been passed directly or indirectly from any of the defendants to plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel and no promise to give any such compensation has been made, notice to the putative class is unnecessary," the filing, dated Dec. 9, said. 

In September, Cablevision downplayed the lawsuits filed against it in a Delaware federal court, which was looking to stop the $17.7 million takeover of the company by European telecom magnet Altice NV.

Gould said in his complaint that even though the deal, valued at $34.90 a share, values Cablevision at a 22 percent premium, it sells the MSO shorts on the synergistic benefits it provides Altice as it seeks to establish a presence in the U.S. cable business. 

On Sept. 17, the day the deal was announced, San Diego's Robbins Arroyo LLP announced that it would be among a number of law firms "investigating" the deal for potential holes.

"As an initial matter, the $34.90 merger consideration represents a premium of only 22.3 percent based on Cablevision's closing price on September 16, 2015," a Robbins Arroyo statement said. "This premium is significantly below the average one-day premium of nearly 28.2 percent for comparable transactions within the past three years."

For their part, a number of media analysts would stridently disagree that $34.90 a share was too little to pay for Cablevision. In April, the company's stock was trading at less than $19 per share before rumors that Altice might buy the company sent its stock price on a steep incline. It was trading at more than $33 a share by late September.

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