For the first time ever, a significant European telecom company is getting into the U.S. cable TV business.
Altice is buying Suddenlink Communications, the fifth-largest U.S. cable TV company, ranked by subscribers, for $9.1 billion deal. Some believe the move is preparatory to a bid for Time Warner Cable as well.
Suddenlink operates in Texas, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Arizona. Its sales grew six percent in 2014 to $2.3 billion and operating profit grew at a similar pace to reach $905 million.
Altice is expected to emphasize aggressive cost cuts and profit margin, rather than growth.
Altice owns French cable company Numericable, the second-biggest supplier, and also is the second-biggest mobile service provider in France.