Video services

CEO Joins $6.6B Bid for Suddenlink

Members of Suddenlink Communications 's management team, including Chairman and CEO Jerry Kent, have teamed with BC Partners and CPP Investment Board to purchase the cable operator in a deal valued at US$6.6 billion.

The agreement, announced Wednesday evening, includes $1.985 billion of total equity to be invested by the group, plus incremental debt of $500 million, and the assumption of $4.094 billion of debt and other liabilities.

BC Partners, CPPIB and the Suddenlink management group expect to close the deal by the fourth quarter of 2012. They'll be looking to take over Cequel Communications Holdings LLC, which does business as Suddenlink Communications, a cable MSO with about 1.4 million subscribers in parts of Texas, West Virginia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. Suddenlink generated $1.96 billion in revenues for the 12 months ended March 31, 2012.

BC Partners, which manages a fund of about $15.5 billion, already owns Swedish MSO com hem AB and sold its stake in German MSO Unitymedia GmbH to Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) in 2009. Canada-based CPPIB invests funds not needed by the Canada Pension Plan, and claims to have about C$26.3 billion invested in private equities.

Why this matters
The proposed deal will keep the nation's seventh-largest cable operator private, and marks the latest in a string of M&A deals involving Tier 2/3 domestic MSOs.

Of recent note, WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) and Knology Inc. (Nasdaq: KNOL) just completed their $1.5 billion merger, and Cogeco Communications (Toronto: CCA) of Canada marked its entry to the U.S. this week via a $1.36 billion acquisition of Atlantic Broadband.

The bid for Suddenlink also comes on the heels of Project Imagine, a $350 million upgrade initiative that funded the operator's move to Docsis 3.0 and introduced an expanded menu of video-on-demand (VoD) capacity and high-definition channels.

For more

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:27:26 PM
re: CEO Joins $6.6B Bid for Suddenlink

Suddenlink confirmed that COO Tom McMillin and CFO Mary Meduski are joining Jerry Kent as part of the MSO execs who are in line to take a stake in the company.

Also, we'll have to keep an eye on Suddenlink in the months ahead, as Kent told Multichannel News that the deal will give it some freedom (and some extra scratch) to pursue aquisitions, so expect some more consolidation to occur among cable's tier 2/3 MSOs  JB

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