By Leila Abboud Bloomberg
A bunch of French guys are setting out to demonstrate to investors that they can run U.S. cable companies better than their American counterparts. Based on their experience, they have a good chance at success — but some patience is required.
Patrick Drahi’s Altice yesterday closed on its $9.1 billion acquisition of St. Louis-based Suddenlink Communications. The French billionaire has also agreed to acquire New York’s Cablevision for $17.7 billion, which if finalized by mid-2016 will turn Altice into the fourth-largest U.S. cable provider.
Drahi and his crew aim to apply a formula they developed for France’s Numericable-SFR, which they bought one year ago: Cut costs on everything from software to salaries, upgrade networks and sell content to revive profitability. So far, Altice has proven it’s good at trimming the fat; the more complicated tasks of restoring sales growth and winning back mobile customers put off by its poor 4G network are also coming along, but will take more time.