Altice Europe buys telecoms fibre firm

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Expanding the range of its fibre network business, telecoms and cable company Altice Europe is acquiring French fibre wholesale operator Covage for around €1bn (US$1.1bn).

Altice Europe says its deal, expected to close in the first half of 2020, will result in Altice’s SFR FTTH unit and Covage deploying fibre networks over the next three to four years, as France sets up new 5G telecoms networks.

The acquisition will be financed with €70m worth of non-recourse debt, €465m of cash equity to be contributed by Altice and €465m of cash equity to be contributed by SFR FTTH’s financial investors.

Altice Europe has been cutting down its large debt burden, and company founder Patrick Drahi says this process is still underway. Drahi says: “We are in advanced discussions with several parties in relation to our Portuguese fibre asset. This process is supported by the significant appetite for fibre in Europe, clearly demonstrated by the present transaction which has been strongly supported by our financial partners in SFR FTTH.”

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