Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

Patrick Drahi, behind the $3.7 billion Sotheby’s acquisition, is no stranger to dealmaking. Here’s what else he’s bought.

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Patrick Drahi, behind the $3.7 billion Sotheby’s acquisition, is no stranger to dealmaking. Here’s what else he’s bought.

  • Patrick Drahi, the founder of Dutch telecoms company Altice, is taking the iconic auction house Sotheby’s private in a $3.7 billion deal
  • The Sotheby’s acquisition under Drahi’s BidFair USA entity, announced Monday, is far from the entrepreneur’s first deal. 
  • Here’s everything you need to know about Drahi, his businesses, and his past acquisitions. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Patrick Drahi, the founder of telecommunications giant Altice and the chairman of its US arm, is back on the acquisition trail. 

The communications giant, which raised $1.9 billion in an IPO of its US arm earlier this summer, is reportedly weighing a bid for Charter Communications.

After buying Cablevision for $17.7 billion last year to become the 4th largest cable provider in the country, Altice USA could rise to number 3 with an acquisition of Charter, only behind Time Warner and Comcast.

Back in Europe, Altice has quickly bought up competitors like France’s SFR and Portugal’s PT. Last month, Altice bought Dutch video ad tech startup, Teads, for $307 million.

“My vision is to do the same in the U.S., but bigger,” Altice CEO Drahi told the Wall Street Journal back in 2015, and so far it looks like things are working out.

Here’s everything you need to know about the billionaire behind some of the biggest telecom deals of this decade.

Note: Lucinda Shen contributed to an earlier version of this post.

Drahi was born in 1963 in Casablanca, Morocco to a two math teachers, both Moroccan Jews. He used to grade the exams his parents brought home, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

At 15, Drahi moved to Montpellier, France.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

He graduated from the elite university École Polytechnique and École Nationale Supérieure de Télécommunications de Paris, with his postgraduate degree coming in optics and electronics.

Drahi would meet his wife, Lina Drahi, at a college party in the late 80s. An hour into meeting her, he proposed marriage — she said yes. They have four kids.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

His first job was at Dutch electronics company, Philips NV, heading international marketing for the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia and Asia in satellite and cable TV.

He then flew to the US in hopes of finding something bigger— he drove around in a rented car, and looked for investors such as Bill Daniels. “It was the Wild West for me. Those US cable investors were icons,” Drahi told The Wall Street Journal.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

After a stint working for Kinnevik-Millsat and working as a consultant, he founded two cable companies: Sud Cable Services in 2004 and Mediareseaux in 1995.

He sold Mediareseaux to John Malone-owned US company UPC in 1999, and stayed on advising the company on M&A for a year.

In 2002, he created Altice. He snapped up telecommunications companies in Israel, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Numericable —Altice’s French subsidiary was also created.

In 2013, he created I24, a news channel broadcasting in English, French, and Arabic.

Altice carried out an initial public offering in 2014 in Europe

Drahi bought French telecommunications company, SFR later that year for $23 billion. Then he acquired assets in Brazil from Portugal Telecom for $8.1 billion in December.

He even tried to acquire Time Warner Cable in 2015 — though that proposed deal fell through.

In May, Drahi cemented a $7.9 billion deal to acquire Cequel Communication, otherwise known as Suddenlink Communications.

In 2015, he kept the acquisition ball rolling, buying Cablevision for $17 billion and becoming the fourth largest US cable operator in the process.

Altice USA had a $1.9 billion IPO in June 2017. The offering was one of the most-watched IPO’s of the summer after Snap, and shares were up 5% on the first day of trading.

Two years later, he’s still not done. CNBC reported in August 2017 that Altice was working on a bid for Charter Communications, which could bring Altice USA to roughly 45 million subscribers across the country.


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