Published: 4/14/16. (Long Island, NY) Global media appraiser and broker Kevin B. Kamen, President/CEO of Kamen & Co. Group Services (kamengroup.com) is not a major supporter of the sale of Cablevision to Altice, the growing French cable and telecommunications entity.
“I suspect Altice is going to come in and slash jobs, streamline operations and work to identify the quickest method of becoming profitable. One of the first places they’ll target for job consolidation will be Newsday, mark my words,” he said. “They will also cut jobs at Cablevision in the long-run. Wherever they can save cost overruns and produce efficiencies they will. Trust and believe. They are not about to invest billions in a sinking ship. I would also expect to see price increases across the board within a year for all subscribers regardless of how competitive the market is.”
Kamen, who has been in the publishing industry for nearly four decades, financially values more newspaper, book publishing, shopper and magazine companies in the US today than any other concern within the media trade and handles a significant amount of brokering as well. He correctly projected the value and ultimate sale prices for Newsday, the Boston Globe and the Providence Journal daily newspapers prior to their respective sales over the past several years.
In his Uniondale office yesterday, he said, “For the past several years the cable trade has been overheating and buyers worth billions have been targeting highly competitive, saturated markets trying to rapidly expand their cable and mobile companies – and this is exactly the case for Patrick Drahi and Altice, the multi-national cable and telecom company that is offering $17.7 billion to acquire Cablevision. They are getting the business for about $1.6 billion less than we have it currently valued for.”Unfortunately, the deal includes Newsday, amNew York and direct mailed titles as well as a number of hyper-local cable news channels that reach regional markets within the tristate area. Ultimately, we can expect to see a loss of jobs here on Long Island and in New York City. It smells rotten from a publishing perspective. This deal obviously speaks to what the Dolans had planned when they split their other entertainment assets (NY Rangers and NY Knicks) apart from their losing print assets a few years back. I suspect the plan for Altice will be to hold on to all the print publishing assets for about 18 months or so and then seek to unload them to another organization that has the infrastructure and synergies to operate the newspapers more efficiently. A number of major publishing executives have already reached out to me asking if Newsday would soon be made available. Once the finance specialists review all the print and distribution costs, I project we will see less newspapers printed and a ratcheted up push to grow the online subscriber base.”
“No doubt acquiring Cablevision along with its multiple media properties will be considered a New York cornerstone acquisition by Altice and, with the deal in St Louis for another cable company recently, they will have swiftly planted a large foothold into the US cable market. It is always about organization development for a new multi-media owner. A planned vision that primarily focuses on a systematic process of proven business practices and principles will always be rationalized and used to improve the bottom line financially,” Kamen added. “Altice has been steadily acquiring cable and mobile companies below value. They have already invested billions in Israel, France, Portugal, the Dominican Republic, Belgium and now the United States (St Louis).” Kamen ended his remarks stating, “Mr. Drahi has made a business decision and all rationale leads me to believe that once goals are not achieved and print, production, distribution and overall operating expenses are not ideal for the bottom-line, maximum effort to unload anything and everything print will be put into full mode across every possible channel. Regardless how anyone looks at this deal in its current state, it has to end up costing jobs across the entire Cablevision organization – both from a digital and print perspective.”