New York Delays Final Vote on Altice Takeover of Cablevisionby
State utility commission now slated to cast vote June 16
Senior staff will issue recommendations for public comment
New York state regulators delayed until June 16 a final decision on Altice NV’s $17.7 billion takeover of Cablevision Systems Corp., one of the final hurdles for the Dutch company to acquire the cable provider and expand in the U.S.
The New York Public Service Commission was scheduled to vote on the transaction on May 20. The PSC pushed back the deadline to give the public time to comment on senior staff’s recommendations for the merger, according to a filing posted on the agency’s website Wednesday. Altice and Cablevision both agreed to the extension.
The sides have been in talks for months 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.
Earlier this month, New York City’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee conditioned its approval of the deal on the companies and the state PSC reaching an agreement on maintaining consumer-facing jobs “for an acceptable period of time.”
The agency’s senior staff will make suggestions to the commissioners related to “network build-out, speed upgrades, a low-income broadband program, network resiliency, customer service and job protections,” according to the filing. Those recommendations haven’t yet been issued.
In a statement, Altice said it still expects the transaction to close in the second quarter of this year.
With Bethpage, New York-based 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.