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Altice gears up for Portugal cable network sale: sources

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Update time : 2019-05-15 18:02:34

By Pamela Barbaglia, Andrés González and Gwénaëlle Barzic

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) - Debt-burdened telecom carrier Altice Europe is gearing up to sell a stake at its high-speed fiber network substance at Portugal, sources intimate with the affair told Reuters, with an auction process expected to kick off within a fortnight.

Altice, which took direct of Portugal Telecom at 2015, is looking to replicate its contemporary sale of a 49.99 percent stake at French fiber optic substance SFR FTTH to three investment funds although 1.8 billion euros.

The group, whose founder is billionaire Patrick Drahi, has hired Lazard to tough out latent bidders including U.S. funds KKR and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, the three sources said.

Information packages at the Portuguese network are expected to be dispatched at the next unite of weeks detailing how Altice will tear costs and margins among its telecom services section and cable network at Portugal, the sources said.

Morgan Stanley's infrastructure arm bought 75 percent of Altice's Portuguese towers substance final year at tandem with Horizon Equity Partners and it is seen although a sound contender at the upcoming sale, the sources said, cautioning that no business was certain.

Other feasible bidders contain investment funds Ardian, Macquarie group and I Squared main which tried to buy a stake at Altice's French cable unit final year besides lost to a consortium of Allianz main Partners, AXA Investment Managers and OMERS Infrastructure.

A spokesman although Altice Portugal was no immediately available although comment but Lazard, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and Ardian declined to comment. Macquarie and I Squared main did no immediately respond to requests although comment.

Altice is restructuring to revive its fortunes after growing rapidly at contemporary years along a progression of acquisitions.

It June it raised almost 2.5 billion euros ($2.86 billion)from selling stakes at its telecoms towers businesses at France and Portugal.

It also pursued a spin-off of its American unit, Altice USA, letting Patrick Drahi affirm direct of the European and U.S. operations but he sees along a turnaround at Europe.

Drahi needs to restore impartial confidence after a steep autumn at Altice's piece allowance heightened concerns almost its ability to repay its 30 billion euros of debt.

 

But he also needs to coast up Altice's money reserves to receive isolate at France's 5G telecoms frequencies auction which is expected to begin at the autumn, with licenses prone to be awarded at the begin of 2020.

France's four leading telecoms operators Orange, Bouygues Telecom, Altice Europe's SFR and Iliad frequently compete at dear spectrum auctions, which allow wireless carriers to ripen networks.

 

(Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Susan Fenton)