Bloomberg News is reporting French telecom giant Altice NV has agreed to buy New York-based TV/web provider Cablevision for $17.7 billion.
Cablevision, Wikipedia says, "is the fifth-largest cable provider and ninth-largest television provider in the United States, with most customers residing in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and parts of Pennsylvania." It's also "the eighth-largest telephone provider in the US" through its VoIP phone service, Optimum Voice.
Among business savy tweeters, some of the discussion is around Cablevision's former owner James L. Dolan, who inherited the company from his father, Charles Dolan. Dolan is the Executive Chairman of the Madison Square Company, which was formed in 2010 when Cablevision itself spun off ownership of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, the Madison Square Garden venue, and MSG Network. The Dolan family also owns AMC Networks, known for Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
On the buying end, Altice SA, based in the Netherlands, is owned by French billionaire Patrick Drahi. In May, the company took control of SuddenLink, the seventh largest cable company in the US, and has also tried to bid for Time Warner Cable. In Europe, the Wall Street Journal observes, Altice is known for bundling TV, high-speed Internet, fixed-phones, and mobile-phone services. He has said he intends to do the same thing in the United States, "but bigger."
And here's an ongoing collection of news coverage and reactions to the Cablevision buy-out: