Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei said he has received “very supportive” feedback from Cogeco shareholders since his company paired with Rogers Communications to launch an unsolicited bid for the Canadian telecom company. And though he said he is still pursuing a deal despite a rejection from Cogeco’s controlling shareholder, he stopped short of saying he would increase his offer.
Altice and Rogers launched their $7.8 billion bid for Cogeco on Sept. 2 and almost immediately were rebuffed by Cogeco’s ruling Audet family, which said it had no intention to sell. While some have speculated that Altice will likely raise its offer to keep the deal alive, the Audet’s have insisted their rejection was not a negotiating tactic.
At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference on Tuesday, Goei wouldn’t say whether Altice USA plans to increase its bid. But he said he has received a lot of positive feedback from shareholders outside of the Audet family.
“We remain committed to the process and we look forward to hearing back at some point from the board,” Goei said at the conference. “We’ve gotten, as you may suspect, very supportive feedback from shareholders of the target who would like to see us engaged in a process. I think there's just a question of time in terms of if we are able to engage here and what form it would take.”
Altice USA still sees M&A as the most effective path to growth, adding that the company has had success in squeezing more revenue and profit out of small assets.
“We’ve never shied away [from the idea] that M&A is the best return for our shareholders,” Goei said, adding that while Atlantic Broadband is well run, he believes Altice USA can make it even more profitable.
“We think we can do a better job going forward, not only on the cost side of the business,” Goei continued. “Each of the businesses we’ve acquired -- at Cablevision and at Suddenlink -- we’ve been able to accelerate top line growth, whether it’s in the existing footprint in cable, but also the ancillary businesses whether it be B2B, advertising or mobile. We feel good about our opportunities about taking smaller businesses in cable and driving great integration and top line growth.”
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.