Billionaire Drahi’s Altice Said to Weigh Sale of Belgian Unit

  • Phone carrier focusing on larger businesses in France, U.S.
  • SFR Belgium unit said to be valued at about $550 million

Altice NV, Billionaire Patrick Drahi’s telecommunications company, is considering selling its Belgian business to focus on bigger operations in markets such as the U.S. and France, according to a person familiar with the situation.

A deal could value the SFR Belgium unit at about 500 million euros ($550 million), said the person, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations. The Belgian division has 110,000 cable customers and some mobile subscribers, according to Altice’s website.

Altice’s growth ambitions have turned to markets such as the U.S., where it acquired cable carriers Cablevision Systems Corp. and Suddenlink Communications. Altice had sought to develop the Belgian business through acquisitions, though hadn’t succeeded in doing so, the person said. SFR Belgium’s rivals include Proximus SA, Mobistar SA and billionaire John Malone’s Liberty Global Plc.

A representative for Altice declined to comment. The Financial Times reported earlier Altice was considering a Belgian sale.

Last month, Drahi handed the reins of his holding company to two key deputies as his company expands U.S. operations.

Shares of Netherlands-based Altice rose 0.7 percent to 12.84 euros at 11:46 a.m. in Amsterdam. The stock has lost 56 percent in the past 12 months as the company added debt to fund acquisitions.