Patrick Drahi’s Altice NV is considering asking Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and BC Partners to help fund a potential bid to buy cable broadcaster Charter Communications Inc., according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Considerations are at an early stage and it isn’t clear how much of an equity commitment Drahi may seek from the funds, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public. Altice hasn’t yet formally approached BC Partners and Canada Pension about joining a bid and may decide not to proceed with an offer, they said.
Altice, London-based BC Partners and Canada Pension, based in Toronto, all declined to comment.
Altice and its U.S. subsidiary, Altice USA, are among a group of possible suitors for Charter that includes Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., people familiar with the matter said Aug. 9. The Amsterdam-based company hasn’t yet made a formal offer for Charter and may also consider other potential acquisition targets, the people said at the time. Altice realizes that a bid on its own for Charter without a partner would be a long shot, said the people.
Canada Pension and BC Partners have worked with Drahi before, agreeing in 2015 to sell a 70 percent stake in Suddenlink to the French billionaire. Five months later, the pair agreed to buy a $1 billion stake in Cablevision Systems Corp. to finance Altice’s $17.7 billion purchase of the U.S. cable company. As part of the first transaction, the funds negotiated an option to invest alongside Altice on any future deals in North America.
Drahi combined Cablevision with Suddenlink to form Altice USA, which raised $1.9 billion in its initial public offering in June. BC Partners owns 26.4 percent of Altice USA while Canada Pension holds 17 percent of the shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
A deal for Charter would be Drahi’s biggest acquisition by far, with a target that’s larger than Altice and its U.S. unit combined. Charter has a market valuation of about $120 billion, compared with 30.7 billion euros ($36 billion) for Altice, and $23 billion for Altice USA.