Six months after reports surfaced that Suddenlink Communications staffers were bristling under the austerity measures of their new owner, the New York Post said that their colleagues at the erstwhile Cablevision are experiencing similar angst.
Citing unnamed sources at the New York cable operation, the Post said Altice USA has cut back on things like the number of available printers and the amount of times the office is cleaned. The report said that Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei has ordered entire departments to use a single printer, citing the high price of ink. An Altice rep told FierceCable said the latter assertion is an "outright lie."
“The article is based on rumors and half-truths, and ignores the efforts underway to create a best-in-class organization focused on delivering superior service to our customers," an Altice statement said. "We continue to focus on improving the operational and financial performance of the company, and believe we have found the right approach to operating more efficiently and investing in the business while maintaining the highest customer service and workplace standards.”
Altice purchased Cablevision for $17.7 billion shortly after it made a successful $9.1 billion bid for Suddenlink.
In June, the Wall Street Journal filed a similar report about Suddenlink employees also griping about Altice’s cost-cutting.
According to a WSJ source, the conglomerate has set up an "authoritarian" investment committee, that pores over expense-related minutiae in hours-long meetings. As Altice continues to cut costs and create new teams, Suddenlink workers were said to be exiting in "threes and fours each week.”
"It creates consternation for about two months," said Goei told WSJ. "Then people realize, 'Boy, I really don't want to go to the investment committee. We just got 500 printers a year ago; we can probably extend their life one more year.’"
Altice, which is currently considering spinning a part of its U.S. operations into an IPO, has made no secret of its intent for reducing some of Cablevision’s operational costs.
Altice chief executive Patrick Drahi has told investors that 50% margins are possible in the company’s U.S. cable businesses, by doing such things as pushing customers into online ordering and reducing utility bills.