|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's range||28.16 - 29.83|
|52-week range||22.27 - 41.32|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.95|
|PE ratio (TTM)||14.85|
|Forward dividend & yield||1.70 (5.70%)|
|Ex-dividend date||09 Sep 2020|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The billionaire Patrick Drahi built his transatlantic telecoms empire on a mountain of debt that at times imperiled its survival. That hasn’t dispelled his appetite for more.On Friday, Drahi made a 2.5 billion-euro ($3 billion) offer to acquire the roughly 47% of Altice Europe NV that he doesn’t already own. It’s an opportunistic move. The shares had lost half their value from a February peak. The continued low cost of debt means Drahi is likely able to fund the buyout with yet more borrowed cash.Shareholders might feel a little hard done by. Over the past few years, Drahi and his team have made significant progress. They’ve simplified the capital structure by separating the U.S. business from the European one centered on France, steadily grown earnings and sold stakes in lucrative network assets to infrastructure investors.Before the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic rattled equity markets, the stock was on the upward trajectory, hitting 6.74 euros. Drahi’s offer, worth 4.11 euros per share, is a premium to Thursday’s closing price, but still significantly below that zenith.The operations have been affected by the virus, but the impact may be temporary. Revenue in the media and business-services divisions have declined, as advertising spending has fallen globally and the work-from-home trend keeps people out of offices. Investors might reasonably expect those operations to recover if a vaccine becomes available. Analysts predict a doubling of free cash flow next year.As well as giving Drahi full exposure to this potential upside, 100% ownership would strengthen his hand should the prospect of consolidation in France, where his SFR unit is the third-biggest operator of four, rear its head again. An earlier mooted combination with Bouygues SA's telecoms unit stumbled in part because Drahi sought a role operating the business even though he would have owned a minority stake in the new entity.While Altice had an enterprise value of 40 billion euros prior to Drahi’s offer, just 4.2 billion of that came from its market capitalization, with the rest of it debt. That means that its share moves have been particularly extreme. Indeed, Altice stock is twice as volatile as the average for European telecoms peers.Altice looks like it doesn’t really belong on the public markets. Its indebtedness is outside stock-market investors’ comfort zone, yet it could take on more leverage if private. If Drahi can achieve the acquisition by borrowing against Altice, the company’s effective net debt would rise to 6.6 times next year’s estimated Ebitda, up from the current 6.2 times. It’s a blow to bondholders, who have been encouraged by the steady improvement of recent years, but only a mild one.This all assumes Drahi can persuade his minority investors to sell out at a price damaged by the pandemic. He certainly hasn’t gone in with a knock-out bid. But with the shares trading only just above his offer, investors aren’t demanding one.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Grenoble is France’s answer to Silicon Valley, a tech hub where chipmaker STMicroelectronics NV is developing new wireless applications, Apple Inc. has an imaging unit in a former chocolate factory and China’s Huawei Technologies Co. is perfecting touch sensors. For Eric Piolle, the mayor of the Alpine city and a rising star in the country’s Green party, making sure these companies have access to 5G communication networks is not a priority.“We shouldn’t just jump on a new technology for the sake of it,” Piolle told Bloomberg in an interview. “We need to pause, and look into the impact 5G will have on the environment.”Tree-Hugging Phone Companies Get Ready for 5G’s Energy BillFrance is already behind Germany and the U.K. in rolling out 5G, which offers broadband speeds up to a hundred times faster than today’s mobile networks. Advocates say it will pull Europe’s struggling economies into a new era of connected factories, self-driving cars and supercharged smartphones.Piolle and his allies see 5G as an excuse for a wasteful and unnecessary cycle of mobile phone upgrades. They’re alarmed by the potential climate impact of a technology that could soak up three times more power than current mobile infrastructure, and want to focus instead on improving patchy 4G coverage.The message has struck a chord with voters, who in June propelled Green candidates into office in some of France’s biggest cities including Nantes, Bordeaux and Strasbourg.It’s turned into potentially the most consequential of several grass-roots campaigns against 5G across Europe, driven by concerns that it’s harmful to health, and by conspiracy theories linking it to Covid-19. Towers have been wrecked from the U.K. to Germany, and a moratorium advocated in Switzerland.They can’t veto 5G outright, but French Green officials told Bloomberg they’ll go to court to block the issuance of construction permits and will ban antennas from public buildings.The campaign is turning into a problem for President Emmanuel Macron’s government. A state agency is preparing a report on 5G’s health impact for the first half of next year, and environment minister Barbara Pompili said in July the government should focus on 4G until the conclusions of the impact study are known. Macron has indicated there’ll be no wide-scale 5G rollout for now. Wary of a popular backlash if it moves too fast on 5G, France’s third-biggest wireless operator, Bouygues Telecom, has also proposed that the government concentrate for now on improving 4G coverage, its Chairman Olivier Roussat told reporters last week.The government has decided nonetheless to press ahead with a delayed auction of 5G spectrum at the end of this month, said Roussat. Bouygues SA Chief Executive Officer Martin Bouygues confirmed the company will bid for the frequencies. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Bouygues will replace 3,000 Huawei-made mobile antennas in France by 2028 following a decision by the country's authorities to remove equipment made by the Chinese company from highly-populated areas, Bouygues's deputy CEO said on Thursday. The United States says Huawei equipment can be used by China for spying, an allegation the company denies but which has led many of Washington's allies to place restrictions on the firm. French authorities have told telecoms operators planning to buy Huawei [HWT.UL] 5G equipment that they will not be able to renew licences for the gear once they expire, effectively phasing the Chinese group out of mobile networks by 2028, three sources told Reuters last month.