NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) - Altice USA, the cable operator that arose from Netherlands-based Altice NV’s acquisitions of Cablevision Systems Corp and Suddenlink Communications, is exploring ways to enter the wireless business as rival cable companies prepare their own mobile services, its chief executive said.
“We are having discussions on lots of different types of alternatives out there,” Dexter Goei, chief executive of Altice USA, told reporters on Monday in remarks that were embargoed until Tuesday.
Altice completed its $17.7 billion acquisition of Cablevision last June and bought Suddenlink for $9.1 billion in 2015.
Altice has 4.9 million U.S. customers but is still only the fourth-biggest U.S. cable provider.
Earlier this month, cable providers Comcast Corp and Charter Communications Inc announced an agreement that would enable them to cut costs and share technology expertise to speed entry into the wireless business.
Comcast has launched its Xfinity Mobile service using Verizon Communications Inc’s airwaves in hopes of boosting customer loyalty by bundling more offerings. Charter has said it will introduce its own service next year.
Goei called the partnership between the two companies “interesting and innovative,” adding, “we’re clearly not the types of people to sit back and watch.”
Asked whether his company would consider joining the Comcast-Charter alliance, he said, “I don’t think there is a necessity for us to join anything today.”
Asked about Altice USA’s future ambitions, he said, “Part of our core strategy and DNA is to continue to look at acquisitions.” He declined to give details on specific acquisition targets.
In April, Altice USA filed for an initial public offering that seeks to raise $1 billon to $2 billion, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. Going public allows Altice’s founder, French billionaire Patrick Drahi, to expand his budding U.S. cable empire by giving Altice USA public stock it can use to help finance more acquisitions.
Altice USA’s parent company said on Tuesday it plans to rebrand Optimum, formerly known as Cablevision, and Suddenlink, as well as most of the other businesses under its umbrella, as Altice by the end of the second quarter of 2018.
Editing by Matthew Lewis