Fattening itself up for potential further consolidation, Cogeco-owned Atlantic Broadband, the 13th largest cable operator in the US, today announced that it will acquire MetroCast Communications for $200 million.
With the acquisition, Atlantic Broadband will extend its coverage area from Western Pennsylvania, Southern Florida, the Maryland/Delaware region and part of South Carolina into several eastern Connecticut communities. MetroCast Cablevision currently serves roughly 23,000 video, 22,000 Internet and 8,000 voice subscribers throughout its territories and passes nearly 70,000 homes and businesses with its network.
Canadian operator Cogeco Communications (Toronto: CCA) picked up Atlantic Broadband in 2012, and since that time has taken several steps to expand the cable company's offerings. Since partnering with TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) in 2013, Atlantic Broadband has not only deployed leased TiVo boxes to subscribers, it has also introduced Netflix service on TiVo set-tops and launched a TiVo-powered portal supporting multiscreen video viewing. Atlantic Broadband also recently unveiled new enhanced Metro Ethernet services offering speeds up to 10 Gbit/s. (See Atlantic Broadband Courts TiVo’s Roamio, Netflix Streams Onto US Cable and Atlantic Broadband Launches Online Portal .)
"We have been pleased with the results of our Atlantic Broadband acquisition, and we are excited to continue our geographic expansion in the US market," said Cogeco President and CEO Louis Audet. "This transaction enhances our growth profile through the planned launch of new residential services such as TiVo and Metro Ethernet for businesses."
The acquisition of MetroCast comes as the larger end of the US cable market also consolidates, and as smaller operators find themselves potential targets for takeover. After failing to win over Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) in an acquisition bid, French telecom company Altice has already said it would like to sweep up several small cable MSOs as a way to challenge Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Charter Communications Inc. (which is in the process of buying out TWC) in the US market. The Altice takeover strategy started in May with the purchase of Suddenlink Communications . (See Altice Eyes Next US Cable Prizes.)
The deal for MetroCast is still subject to regulatory approval, but it is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading