LONDON (TheDeal) -- European markets struggled for direction Wednesday. Telecom stocks grabbed the spotlight, led by Amsterdam-listed Altice (ATCEY) on a $9.1 billion deal for a majority stake in St. Louis, Mo.-based Suddenlink Communications to splash into the U.S. cable market.
In London, the FTSE hardly budged at 6,995.40, while on the mainland, the DAX was down 0.28% at 11,920.39 in Frankfurt and the CAC 40 was 0.23% lower at 5,015.47 in Paris.
In the U.K., there was some investor uncertainty following the publication of minutes from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee meeting earlier this month. Collectively, policy makers found the level of slack in the economy currently stood at around 0.5% of GDP and likely to be absorbed "within the year." However, the report noted that there was a range of views among Committee members about the current degree of slack and how quickly it would narrow.
In Amterdam, Altice soared 7.22% as investors welcomed its bold move to enter the U.S. cable market. The Luxembourg-based buyer, which is controlled by French billionaire Patrick Drahi, announced an agreement to buy 70% of Suddenlink Communications, the seventh-largest U.S. cable operator with 1.4 million residential and 90,000 business customers.
The deal's $9.1 billion enterprise value values the target at 7.6 times synergy-adjusted EBITDA, or 7.3 times based on a tax-adjusted enterprise value, according to the buyer.
In London, Vodafone (VOD) rose 3.91% after Liberty Global chairman John Malone told Bloomberg News that a tie-up with the U.K. phone giant would be a "great fit" for his western European cable operations.