Cable Business Services

Altice USA Nearing Sale of Lightpath Stake – Report

Altice USA is nearing the sale of a minority stake of Lightpath, the operator's fiber-based business services unit, to Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, Bloomberg reported.

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners is a New York-based private equity firm founded in 2011. Stonepeak claims to manage more than $15 billion of capital for its investors in areas spanning energy, power, and renewables; transportation; utilities; water; and communications. Stonepeak's investment portfolio includes Cologix, an operator of about two dozen interconnected data centers in the US and Canada; euNetworks Holdings, a bandwidth infrastructure firm serving parts of western Europe; and ExteNet Systems, a provider of outdoor and indoor wireless connectivity.

Altice USA declined to comment on the report, but Bloomberg said the potential deal could value Lightpath at about $3 billion.

Altice USA has previously announced that it is exploring strategic options for Lightpath, a division that Altice USA obtained from its June 2016 acquisition of Cablevision Systems.

In May, Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei said a process that will decide the fate of Lightpath was ongoing, noting that the discussions could lead to a partial or full sale of that business.

Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the talks, said an agreement with Stonepeak could surface as soon as this week, with Altice USA retaining a majority stake in Lightpath.

It's possible that Altice USA will provide an update on the Lightpath process when the company announces Q2 2019 results this Wednesday (July 31).

Cowen & Co. previously speculated that infrastructure funds could be among the most likely suitors for Lightpath, along with some potential for the likes of Crown Castle, Charter Communications and CenturyLink to pursue those assets. Analysts covering Altice USA have also suggested that a sale of all or part of Lightpath alongside a greater focus on its core business -- residential connectivity -- would serve as a catalyst to the stock.

The Altice Europe division has had some success in divesting some of its fiber assets and infrastructure amid a broader strategic review for that region. Among recent results, Altice Europe has inked a deal to sell off fiber assets of its SFR subsidiary for $2.3 billion.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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