Altice turnaround hinges on credit given to Drahi

Altice has reorganized its group management and governance, following the resignation of Michel Combes, who was serving as CEO of Altice N.V., among other posts.

"The organisation changes are meant to align public shareholders' interests with the ones of the group's managers, and seek to restore investors' confidence, but we are not convinced it will be the case", Bryan Garnier analysts said in a note to clients.

Returning as president of the board, Drahi is now officially responsible for setting out the strategic, operational, commercial and technological agenda for the group, as well as overseeing its execution.

Altice said late on November 9 that Chief Executive Michel Combes would resign and be replaced by Dexter Goei, the current chief executive and chairman of Altice USA. Dexter Goei remains Director of the Board of Altice N.V.

"An Altice press release read: "[The reshuffle] centres core group telecom and media organisations around proven entrepreneurs and the historic core management team".

Dexter Goei was named as CEO and will also continue as chief executive and chairman of Altice USA.

"There is a general feeling that he put the cart before the horses", said a banker close to Altice. In addition to his primary focus on France, Armando will assume responsibility for all core telecommunications operational functions across the group.

Finally, Alain Weill, CEO of SFR Media, has been appointed as chairman and CEO of SFR as awhole - a role that became vacant when Michel Paulin resigned in September, with the French operation being looked after in the interim by Combes. Pereira, a co-founder of Altice along with Drahi, served as president of Altice Portugal/Meo until the start of this year, when the appointment of Paolo Neves to his old role freed him up to join Altice's advisory council. All of these leaders are significant Altice shareholders and will execute Altice's convergence strategy around telecoms, media-content and data-advertising. He provided key support and judgment as we developed our expansion strategy. "I would like to personally thank him for his contribution, integrity, loyalty and friendship".

Altice's performance in Europe has led investors to question its strategy and fuelled concerns that the highly leveraged company will not be able to maintain its debt level in a rising interest rate environment.

Billionaire founder of Netherlands telecom giant Altice, Patrick Drahi, has moved to reinstate his control over the group after its third quarter results alarmed shareholders.

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