What: Shares of Cablevision Systems Corporation (UNKNOWN:CVC.DL) were up 15% as of noon Thursday after the cable company announced it has agreed to be acquired by European telecom giant Altice.
So what: The deal puts Cablevision's enterprise value at roughly $17.7 billion, which means Altice will deliver roughly $34.90 per share in cash for each Cablevision share. Because shareholders representing the majority of Cablevision's outstanding voting power have already delivered written consents approving the acquisition, it requires no further shareholder approval. Altice also noted the combination will vault it to be the fourth-largest cable operator in the U.S. market.
"As a family business we are proud to be entrusted by the Dolan family with the ownership of Cablevision and look forward to continuing the pioneering path they have paved for us," added Altice founder and President Patrick Drahi. "The strategy of Altice in the large and highly strategic US market is reinforced with the acquisition of Cablevision."
In a statement on behalf of the Dolan family, Cablevision CEO James Dolan wrote:
[T]he time is right for new ownership of Cablevision and its considerable assets. We believe that Patrick Drahi and Altice will be truly worthy successors, and we look forward to doing all we can to affect this transition for our customers and employees. We expect that Cablevision will be in excellent hands.
Now what: Cablevision, for its part, has agreed not to pay quarterly dividends between now and the close of the transaction, which is expected to be in the first half of 2016 when all required regulatory approvals are obtained. Cablevision also stated Altice has advised up to $5.8 billion in Cablevision and CSC Holdings debt will remain outstanding after the transaction is complete.
As it stands, that hasn't happened yet. And while this further industry consolidation isn't particularly surprising, keep in mind there's no guarantee regulators will approve the deal. With Cablevision's dividend now off the table and shares trading within 6% of the proposed acquisition price, I think Cablevision investors would be wise to take today's quick profits and put them to work elsewhere.