Altice Group’s 50.1% share in XpFibre is at the center of attention as multiple key players begin to express their interest. According to a Bloomberg report, heavyweight contenders such as KKR & Co., Macquarie Group, CDPQ, and Global Infrastructure Partners are keen on acquiring the stake in France’s largest alternative fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) wholesaler. However, no details regarding financial bids have surfaced yet.
Altice Group’s move to divest its assets, just a few months after the announcement by billionaire Patrick Drahi, is seen as a strategic attempt to reduce the Group’s $60 billion debt. The assets for sale include a minority stake in Altice France, and it quickly became evident that the stake in mobile operator Altice France (SFR) is less attractive than that of XpFibre. The FTTH unit currently covers over 5 million premises nationwide.
The origins of XpFibre go back to 2018, when it was formed as a result of a spin-off from Altic France’s FTTH unit. Several investors, including Allianz Capital Partners (ACP), AXA Investment Managers, and Canadian investment firm Omers Infrastructure, saw value in the venture. They jointly acquired a 49.9% stake in XpFibre for a deal worth €1.7 billion.
Altice Group’s decision to part with its stakes in Altice France and XpFibre is not surprising considering it has recently considered selling off other asset classes. For instance, in December, Altice Portugal received a €6 billion takeover offer from Warburg Pincus, with other firms such as stc and Iliad possibly joining the bidding competition.
Altice Group has also ventured into the data center market, recently shifting its data center assets into a separate business. It then sold a 70% stake in this new entity to Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners for slightly over half a billion euros last month.