The move is intended to allay fears among investors over the mounting levels of debt that the company has accrued

Altice is set for a dramatic restructuring programme as its board approved plans to spin off Altice USA as a separate entity and radically restructure its European operations.

The restructuring will see Altice NV sell off its 67.2% stake in Altice USA to existing shareholders, with Altice USA emerging as an independent company in its own right. Altice USA’s board of directors has already approved a $1.5 billion dividend payable to its shareholders and has confirmed a $2 billion share repurchase programme which will come into effect following the separation of the two entities. 

Altice’s founder, Patrick Drahi will remain the largest shareholder in both Altice USA and Altice NV (which will be renamed Altice Europe). He will serve as chairman of Altice USA and president of Altice Europe, retaining a 52.2% stake in the companies.  

“The separation will allow both Altice Europe and Altice USA to focus on their respective operations and execute against their strategies, deliver value for shareholders, and realise their full potential,” Drahi, told reporters from the UK’s Financial Times.

Altice has accumulated huge levels of debt, with current debt levels hovering around the €50 billion mark. In December, Altice sold off its Swiss business unit for €180 million and put its operations in the Dominican Republic up for sale at a price of €3 billion, as part of a debt reduction scheme that saw the company divest a number of non-core assets.  

Altice’s share price has fallen steadily over the past quarter, falling from €17.59 in early October to €9.93 today. Over the same period, Altice USA’s share price has fallen from $27.22 to $21.09.