Is Comcast moving to buy Altice?
On Wednesday, former Comcast executive Marc Sirota takes over as chief financial officer at Altice USA, where he will report to 18-year Comcast veteran Dennis Mathew, who took the CEO reins from Dexter Goei back in October.
Meanwhile, 21-year Comcast veteran David Williams is set to assume the Altice USA chief marketing officer role from longtime company marketing pro Matthew Grover.
And Shuvankar Roy, who joined Altice just 13 months ago after an eight-year stint at Comcast, has been promoted to chief customer experience officer.
For their part, some equity analysts are wondering what is up with all the Comcast exec talent taking over key roles as struggling Altice USA.
And on Monday, New Street Research’s Blair Levin published an investor note, headlined, “With Their Alumni in Charge, Could Comcast Buy Altice?”
He postulated that on a regulatory level, it is possible for Comcast to make a bargain purchase of a cable company with a new New York-region fiber network, ostensibly at a relatively cheap price.
After all, he said, it’s not like Comcast would be trying to swallow up a cable operator as big as Time Warner Cable. That was the $45 billion merger deal famously rejected by federal regulators back in 2015.
A Comcast-Altice tie-up, Levin wrote, would “not diminish competition in any relevant product and geographic market, which is the primary test for a merger review.”
Altice USA investors, who have watched the cable operator’s market capitalization — once at well above $10 billion — precipitously decline to around $1.8 billion, as its broadband customer growth has ground to a halt, like the idea of Altice merging with a far more diversified TMT conglomerate.
Altice USA stock shot up over 6% Tuesday on Levin’s speculation.
But other analysts wonder exactly how the deal might benefit Comcast. And they question whether federal regulators would really allow the No. 1 cable company, which already controls 37% of U.S. wireline broadband, to significantly expand that market share. Next TV