With M&A rumors once again swirling around Altice USA amid its disclosure today of key components of its IPO, Cox Communications has reiterated its stance that it shouldn’t be on a short list of top takeover targets.
“We’ve been consistent and very clear that we’re not for sale,” a Cox spokesman Todd Smith told FierceCable. “In fact, we continue to invest aggressively in our core products, our network and strategic partnerships and acquisitions where it makes sense.”
On Monday, Altice USA unveiled plans to raise as much as $1.35 billion through initial public offering. It is widely assumed that the European-based conglomerate would continue a U.S. cable shopping spree began in spring 2015 when it agreed to pay $9.1 billion for Suddenlink Communications and $17.7 billion for Cablevision.
Speaking in September 2015, as Altice was working to gain regulatory approvals for those two acquisitions, and figure out how to integrate them, Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei said his company would temporarily take time to digest before embarking on more M&A. A caveat, however, was the possible availability of the No. 3 U.S. operator, Cox.
"We're trying to commit ourselves to not doing anything because we have some execution work to do," Goei said at the time. "The Cox family can wait. They've been in there for 40 years. They can wait another couple of years.”
Other potential takeover targets for Altice include Cable One, the No. 10 operator, which has a market cap of over $4 billion—lofty, some analysts say, for a small-to-midsize cable company that has relied on steady increases in broadband pricing in largely poor, rural areas in order to sustain growth.
WideOpenWest is also a potential target. The Englewood, Colorado, company just finished its own IPO and says it is ready to return to the realm of free cash flow and investing in its network infrastructure.