Billionaire Drahi’s Altice Sells $1.24 Billion of New Shares

Jun 24, 2014 4:29 am ET

June 24 (Bloomberg) -- Cable billionaire Patrick Drahi’s investment company Altice SA sold 911 million euros ($1.24 billion) of new stock to help fund its stake increase in Numericable Group and cut debt.

The Luxembourg-based company said today it sold 17.9 million shares, equal to 50.90 euros apiece. Altice shares lost as much as 5.8 percent and fell 5 percent to 50.35 euros at 10:27 a.m. in Amsterdam, giving the company a market value of 10.3 billion euros. Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. helped arrange the sale.

Drahi is expanding his grip on cable and mobile companies as the European telecommunication industry consolidates to reduce costs and boost earnings. Altice is raising its stake in Numericable after agreeing in April to merge the French cable provider with Vivendi SA’s phone unit SFR, a transaction valued at more than 17 billion euros.

Altice will use 529 million euros of the proceeds to fund its purchase of a 14 percent stake in Numericable from buyout firms Cinven Group Ltd. and Carlyle Group LP. It said it’ll also use proceeds to reduce borrowings and for “general corporate purposes.”

Companies and shareholders have raised about $75 billion in additional sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa this year, up 21 percent from 2013 as investors return to the region’s markets on the promise of strengthening economies, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“There are opportunities in each one of our markets,” Altice Chief Executive Officer Dexter Goei said in January on the company’s first day of Amsterdam trading. “We’re effectively in nine different regions or countries, so we’re looking at more than nine opportunities.”