Altice is the latest telecom company to prepare a bid for Charter Communications, CNBC reports, citing unnamed sources.
The European telecom conglomerate and its U.S. cable arm are reportedly working on an offer to buy the No. 2 U.S. cable company, CNBC said. They have not yet formally proposed the offer to Charter.
Both Charter and Altice had no comment for FierceCable.
Charter rebuffed an overture two weeks ago by SoftBank Group and its chief executive, Masayoshi Son, to merge with the Japanese tech giant’s U.S. wireless company, Sprint. Since then, SoftBank has reportedly been developing a bid to buy Charter outright.
CNBC described Altice’s top executive, Patrick Drahi, as eager to throw his hat in the ring for Charter before another highly leveraged international conglomerate can get there first.
Altice USA is coming off a highly successful initial public offering, during which it raised $2.2 billion. And Altice USA management has received early applause from analysts for making good on promises to cut costs and increase margins.
However, with Charter’s market capitalization coming in at more than $100 billion, both Altice and SoftBank would have to assemble packages heavy in debt and their own stock to make the purchase.
As CNBC noted, Charter management—and its largest shareholder, Liberty Interactive chief John Malone—are leery of any purchase that would require them to buy a lot of stock in a debt-laden company, regardless of any recently displayed abilities to wring out EBITDA efficiencies.