Altice NV (ATCEY) shares surged the most in two months in early Thursday trading after the French telecoms and cable group controlled by billionaire Patrick Drahi raised its stake in SFR Group amid continued speculation it may be preparing a takeover bid for Charter Communications (CHTR) .
Altice has lifted its stake SFR, a French wireless operator, to more than 95% and said it's planning a full buyout offer for the remaining shares. Altice will offer €34.50 a share for those it doesn't already own. The deal by TheStreet's calculations would be worth in the region of €760 million ($890 million).
Altice shares, which trade on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, gained 2.7%, their biggest single-day gain since June 1, in the first hour of trading to change hands at €20.16 each. SFR Group shares were up 9.28% in early trading to €34.33, their biggest rise in at least a year.
The move by Altice comes amid speculation that it will make a bid for Charter Communications, advancing the company's position in the U.S. The Drahi-controlled group is lining up a potential $185 billion bid for Charter, the Financial Times reported, citing sources close to the deal, pitting themselves against Softbank (SFTBY) .
Sources said Altice has not made a formal bid, as the group and its advisers are unsure if it can amass that amount of debt financing needed to bid for a larger rival.
Altice listed its U.S. operations at the end of June in a bid to increase its deal making in the country. Shares closed at $31.09 on Wednesday, giving it a market cap of $22.9 billion.
Charter Communications closed at $400.90 in New York Wednesday after rising 2.86% on the session, extending their one-month gain to just under 21%.
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