* Altice focusing on larger French, U.S. operations
* Telenet extends into Brussels, southern Belgium
(Adds more on Telenet rationale, financing)
PARIS Dec 22 Altice, the parent of
French telecoms firm SFR Group, said on Thursday it
had agreed to sell its businesses in Belgium and Luxembourg to
Telenet Group for an enterprise value of 400 million
euros ($418 million).
The Netherlands-based holding, controlled by Franco-Israeli
tycoon Patrick Drahi, is focusing on its larger operations in
France and the United States, where it is considering an initial
public offering (IPO) of its subsidiary Altice USA.
The sale of the businesses in Belgium and Luxembourg will be
made on a cash and debt free basis. The deal is expected to
receive approval from the Belgian antitrust authorities "within
a few months," Telenet said in a separate statement.
It said the businesses, dubbed SFR BeLux, will allow Telenet
to extend its cable operations in Brussels and the southern
Belgian region of Wallonia, with about 90,000 customers. It
would also add some 15,000 customers in Luxembourg.
Telenet, which is concentrated in the northern Belgian
region of Flanders and parts of Brussels, said it expected to
achieve 16 million euros of annual synergy benefits by 2021.
The benefits would come from extending its base in Brussels,
introduction of offers combining mobile, fixed telephony,
internet and television, as well as business customer growth and
The deal values the businesses at 6.5 times estimated
adjusted earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) for 2016, with those benefits factored in.
Telenet said it would finance the deal through existing cash
and available liquidity under its revolving credit facilities,
adding that its leverage ratio could rise to 3.6, which is
within its financial covenants.
($1 = 0.9573 euros)
(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain in Paris and Philip Blenkinsop
in Brussels; editing by David Clarke)