New York City Gives Conditional OK to Altice's Cablevision Bid

  • Approval is subject to an agreement on retaining jobs
  • State regulators to vote on the transaction later this month

New York City conditionally approved the transfer of cable franchise rights from Cablevision Systems Corp. to Altice NV, a necessary step for the Dutch company to expand in the U.S. through its $17.7 billion acquisition of Cablevision.

The city’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee’s approval is subject to Cablevision, Altice and the state Public Service Commission reaching an agreement on maintaining consumer-facing jobs “for an acceptable period of time,” according to a statement Wednesday. The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications will review that jobs accord to “be sure that the company will be able to meet franchise commitments,” the city said. The PSC will vote on the transaction later this month.

The decision comes after months of negotiations about job retention and improving customer-service quality and broadband Internet service for New York. In March, Altice stopped short of committing to retain jobs for five years. Instead, the company said it will focus on network improvements, which may require hiring more technicians and back-office employees.

Under Altice’s commitments to the city, the Bronx and Brooklyn will be the first communities to receive infrastructure upgrades, according to the statement.

Shares of Cablevision were little changed at $34.58 at 3:43 p.m. A spokesman for Altice didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

With Cablevision, Altice would add 3.1 million customers in the greater New York area to its 35 million subscribers in Europe, Israel and the Caribbean.

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