Altice NV Co-Founder and billionaire Patrick Drahi took back the reins of the financially troubled telco and cable operator, hoping to appease investors by reuniting his former c-suite team and build on the opportunities it's created through acquisition and fiber deployments across Europe and North America. So far, Wall Street approves.
The move -- which saw CEO Michel Combes resign after approximately a year in that position -- is part of a "new management and governance structure is designed to better implement Altice’s strategy, create clearer accountability amongst management and improve the operational and financial performance of the business," Altice wrote in a statement.
Altice USA's stock grew +5.8% after its MVNO deal with Sprint was announced. And it's up again today 15 cents, at the time of this writing, or 0.68%, according to Seeking Alpha. (See Altice USA & Sprint Sign MVNO Pact.)
Taking Back the Throne
Under the reorganization, several top executives are now in place, including:
- Patrick Drahi will be appointed president of Altice NV's board, overseeing the strategic, operational, commercial and technological agenda as well as its execution.
- Dexter Goei, currently CEO and chairman of Altice USA and director of the Altice NV board, will continue in those positions and also become CEO of Altice NV. Those reporting to him will expand to include digital advertising and the Dominican Republic CEO.
- Dennis Okhuijsen will remain as chief financial officer of Altice NV and become CEO of Altice Europe, having all European operations' CEOs reporting to him.
- Jérémie Bonnin serves as Altice general secretary.
- Armando Pereira will be Altice Telecom chief operating office, focusing primarily on France, as well as all core telecommunications operators across the group.
- Alain Weill, currently SFR Media CEO, is now also SFR Group chairman and CEO, and Altice Media COO. In these roles, Weill will oversee the media business across the group and implement Altice’s content and media convergence strategy in France.
The move comes amid a darkening financial picture for Altice, whose shares have lost approximately one third of their value since the provider announced it had lost about 75,000 broadband customers in France, its largest market, during the recent third quarter.
On Nov. 3, the operator suffered its worst day, shedding more than 20% of its value and losing almost €6 billion ($7 billion) off its market capitalization, Reuters reported.
The highly leveraged balance sheet created a net debt of about $50 billion. That represents a net debt to EBITDA ratio of about 5.3x for its most recent financial quarter, wrote financial blogger The Outsider on Seeking Alpha this morning.
Europe accounts for about 57% of Altice's revenue, followed by the United States, which represents 35%. Israel and the Dominican Republic generate the rest of the provider's revenue. Wireline accounts for about 60% of revenue, and Altice has mobile services in all markets except the US -- hence its recent partnership with Sprint.
Like other operators, Altice faces tough competition from peers and over-the-top providers, mobile operators and webscale companies. It's an acquisitive firm that's heavily focused on cost cutting, but has not done a stellar job of integrating its acquired assets, the Seeking Alpha blog said.
"Going forward, Altice’s strategy is to expand fiber and have more in-house content, continue to improve efficiency and offer better customer service. This should lead to higher operating margins, but revenue growth may be harder to resume until more industry consolidation occurs, especially in France where the competitive environment remains fierce," the blog said.
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.