Drahi explores his options for partial sales of his Altice empire

The billionaire, owner of the parent company of SFR, opened the way for minority shareholders to enter several entities of his vast empire.

The series that began in the summer continues in September. Shaken by the corruption scandal affecting his group, at a time when the debt – 60 billion dollars – of his empire worries investors, billionaire Patrick Drahi continues to explore his options with a view to a partial or total sale of certain pieces of Altice. While THE Figaro raised at the beginning of August the possibility of a vast Monopoly around the ets what could the billionaire give to reduce his debtthis possibility takes an increasingly concrete turn.

Read alsoCorruption, debt, sale of BFM… The truths of Arthur Dreyfuss, CEO of Altice France

At the beginning of September, the newspaper The world, thus raised the possibility of a partial sale of the capital of SFR, whose parent company Altice France alone is in debt to the tune of 24 billion euros. “ SFR is seen as the Eiffel Tower (brand, networks, organization, quality, etc.) and we will have many options», Patrick Drahi indicated in a meeting in London with investors. But the French et is obviously not the only one weighed. United States, Portugal (where did the scandal start?), Dominican Republic, the start-up Teads… the Drahi empire has numerous entities likely to interest players for financial or sectoral operations. The group rather favors capital increases with the entry of minority shareholders, in particular private equity funds.

Multiple interested actors

Altice has mandated several banks – the names of Lazard, BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs are regularly mentioned – to measure the appetite of these players and offer them options. Private equity or infrastructure funds such as KKR, Ardian, Blackrock, but also from Gulf countries could be interested in taking an equity stake in one of Patrick Drahi’s companies, according to two sources interviewed. International operators would potentially be interested. Among them, were cited to the Figaro by some analysts the names of the Dutch KPN, the French Orange, or even Liberty Global. In the list of interesting ets, rumors continue to arise about a sale of the media division made up of BFM and RMC, particularly in France. If the subject was raised during the meeting at the beginning of September in London with investors, the CEO of Altice France Arthur Dreyfuss nevertheless insisted on September 8 “Altice Media is not for sale! »

When contacted, the multinational refused to comment. Its next major credit deadline is set for 2025, and for an amount of 1.6 billion euros which it says it is certain it will be able to repay. To do this, it may use the proceeds from the sale of data centers French company of the group, which should bring in several hundred million euros and for which Altice has entered into exclusive negotiations with Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partner, as announced Le Figaro early August.

Read alsoCorruption, debt… A decisive week for Patrick Drahi’s empire

Altice has a little margin, at least until the beginning of 2024, but everything could accelerate if an et were to find a buyer, at a price that satisfies Patrick Drahi. Monday evening, The echoes indicated for example that the businessman was seeking 3 billion for the French entity, on the basis of a valuation at eight times the Ebidta for the French activities. “All of this is still very theoretical, both in terms of the scope and the amounts. The group will let it happen, and the valuation will undoubtedly depend on the share of capital targeted by the interested entities.indicates a good connoisseur of the telecoms sector.

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