December 22, 2016 / 7:56 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Altice to sell SFR BeLux to Telenet for 400 mln euros

* Altice focusing on larger French, U.S. operations

* Telenet extends into Brussels, southern Belgium (Adds more on Telenet rationale, financing)

PARIS, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Altice, the parent of French telecoms firm SFR Group, said on Thursday it had agreed to sell its businesses in Belgium and Luxembourg to Telenet Group for an enterprise value of 400 million euros ($418 million).

The Netherlands-based holding, controlled by Franco-Israeli tycoon Patrick Drahi, is focusing on its larger operations in France and the United States, where it is considering an initial public offering (IPO) of its subsidiary Altice USA.

The sale of the businesses in Belgium and Luxembourg will be made on a cash and debt free basis. The deal is expected to receive approval from the Belgian antitrust authorities “within a few months,” Telenet said in a separate statement.

It said the businesses, dubbed SFR BeLux, will allow Telenet to extend its cable operations in Brussels and the southern Belgian region of Wallonia, with about 90,000 customers. It would also add some 15,000 customers in Luxembourg.

Telenet, which is concentrated in the northern Belgian region of Flanders and parts of Brussels, said it expected to achieve 16 million euros of annual synergy benefits by 2021.

The benefits would come from extending its base in Brussels, introduction of offers combining mobile, fixed telephony, internet and television, as well as business customer growth and cost savings.

The deal values the businesses at 6.5 times estimated adjusted earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for 2016, with those benefits factored in.

Telenet said it would finance the deal through existing cash and available liquidity under its revolving credit facilities, adding that its leverage ratio could rise to 3.6, which is within its financial covenants.

$1 = 0.9573 euros Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain in Paris and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; editing by David Clarke

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