How will Altice save $900M at Cablevision? Start by grounding MSO's fleet of four helicopters

Cablevision's (NYSE: CVC) fleet of four Sikorsky helicopters will be the first to go when Altice NV likely closes its $17.7 billion purchase of the MSO later this month.

The New York Post reported that the aircraft, along with the 10 highest ranking Cablevision executives, will depart from the cable company's bottom line, after what appears to be a likely "yes" vote from New York state officials on the merger. The deal has already been approved by the FCC. 

Since it first proposed buying Cablevision a year ago, Netherlands-based Altice has promised to trim $900 million from the cable company's budget. New York City officials have worried that the cost-cutting pledge will have a significant impact to New York-area employment. 

But beyond the $24.6 million paid in executive compensation to Cablevision chief executive James Dolan, the helicopters are yet another indicator that Altice has plenty of fat to trim before it hits any bone. 

According to the Post, Altice is currently evaluating Cablevision's executive ranks, trying to determine which operatives should stay and which should go.

"I do not like to pay salaries. I pay as little as I can," Drahi famously said at an investor meeting last year.

Beyond Dolan, Cablevision General Counsel David Ellen is reportedly set to receive a sizable severance, as are Vice Chairmen Hank Ratner and Gregg Seibert. The latter will remain vice chairman of the Madison Square Garden Group and AMC Networks. 

According to the Post, Altice is discussing a possible role for COO Kristin Dolan — the paper said the European telecom conglomerate may create a "data-focused" joint venture with her. 

For more:
- read this New York Post story

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