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#Business :Altice to buy U.S. firm Cablevision for $17.7 billion: sources

U.S. cable TV
operator Cablevision Systems Corp (CVC.N) has
agreed to a $17.7 billion takeover offer by European telecommunications company
Altice (ATCA.AS), according to two people
familiar with the matter, the latest acquisitions in a sector struggling with
declining viewership.

Shares of Cablevision, which is controlled by New York's Dolan family, jumped
as much as 16 percent to $33.12 after the bell as details of the takeover deal,
which includes Cablevision's debt, became public. The New York Times had earlier
reported on the deal.

The sources said Altice will pay $34.90 per share for Cablevision and will
finance the deal through banks and by selling additional shares.

As part of the deal, BC Partners and the Canada Pension Plan Investment
Board, the minority stake holders of Suddenlink [CQUELS.UL], may buy 30 percent
of Cablevision’s equity, the sources added.

The sources declined to be identified as the matter remained confidential.
Altice and Cablevision could not be immediately reached for comment.

Cablevision, which operates primarily in the Greater New York area, was
valued at $7.89 billion as of Wednesday's close based on its outstanding shares
as of July 31. Its debt levels were not immediately known.

Altice Group is a multinational cable and telecommunications company which
has said it was keen to acquire more U.S. cable TV firms. The Cablevision
takeover is its second this year.

In May, it agreed to buy Suddenlink, the seventh largest U.S. cable company,
for $9.1 billion from private equity investors, its first move across the

U.S. cable companies are struggling with declining subscriber numbers, with
viewers shifting to cheaper and more flexible streaming services offered by the
likes of Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), Amazon.com Inc
(AMZN.O) and Hulu, triggering a wave of
acquisitions in the sector this year.

AT&T Inc (T.N) became the largest U.S.
pay-TV company in July after it completed its $48.5 billion merger with the
biggest satellite-TV provider DirecTV DTV.O.

Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N) said in July
that it was working towards closing a deal to be bought by Charter
Communications Inc (CHTR.O).

Earlier this year, Altice held talks with Time Warner about a possible deal.
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