Altice USA CEO Talks Charter Takeover Speculation


Altice USA CEO Dennis Mathew has responded to Wall Street chatter around Charter Communications considering a takeover of his rival cable TV operator.

“There’s three things I want to say. One, we’re a controlled company,” Mathew said at a Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference during a session that was webcast. Altice USA is a subsidiary of the French telecom and media company Altice NV, based in The Netherlands.  

“Two, I don’t speculate on what other companies may or may not be doing. Three, my number one focus is to drive maximum positive impact for our teammates, our customers and communities we serve by accelerating this transformation,” Mathew added.

Shares in Altice USA have jumped by around a third in the last month amid the takeover speculation. Mathew, appearing at the investors conference, talked about strategic alternatives after Altice USA sold Cheddar News, the youth-skewing business news service,  to Archetype, a media company whose brands include Sunset and Military Times.

“I really like the businesses and our portfolio and geography. So we’re heads down focused on driving the business. We’ll look at transactions opportunistically. But we want to focus on growing the core and not be distracted,” he told investors.

Altice USA, like rival cable TV operators, has continued to lose video subscribers amid competition from streaming giants. That’s led to efforts by Altice USA to improve its customer experience on pricing, product installs and content offerings.

Mathew also discussed a planned sports streaming joint venture from Disney, Fox Corp. and Warner Bros. Discovery set to offer live linear channels, such as ESPN, ABC, Fox, TNT and TBS, games and other sports rights from all three companies on a nonexclusive basis. Expected to launch in the fall, in time for the NFL season, it will be available directly to consumers, but also as a bundle with WBD’s Max, as well as Disney’s ESPN+ and Hulu.

“We got to wait and see where the dust settles. I know things are still forming, but we want our linear customers to have access to these types of solutions. And so how do we do that in a way that’s a win for the customer, a win for the programmers and a win for us? I don’t think we’re there yet. Those conversations are not happening at the right level. And so those are some of the conversations we’re pushing to have in the near term,” Mathew said.

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