TheStreet (New York) -- Hours after announcing his plans to acquire Cablevision Systems (CVC) , the fourth-largest U.S. cable-TV provider, Altice CEO Patrick Drahi took the stage at a Goldman Sachs investor conference Thursday to proclaim his intention to bring European cost structures to the U.S. cable space.
"I like to pay as little as I can," he told told an audience of several hundred analysts and media investors, sounding disapproving notes about Cablevision's current operating costs and profit margins. "It's not about how many customers you have, it's about how much money you make."
Indeed, Drahi is expected to operate Cablevision much differently from the company's current owners and founders, the Dolan Family.
James Dolan, the company's chairman and CEO, has received criticism in recent years for focusing too intently on Madison Square Garden(MSG) - Get Report , owner of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, among other sports franchises, and paying less attention to the cable-TV and broadband operator.
Analysts anticipate that Drahi will slash overhead by outsourcing parts of the business to contractors, decreasing management salaries and finding synergies throughout Cablevision's diverse set of holdings.
"There's at least $300 million in corporate overhead that can immediately be deleted," one conference attendee said.
In his presentation, Drahi espoused a no-frills management philosophy that pointed to the possibility of layoffs, or at least a broad restructuring.
"I don't need the guys who are top top top, just guys who are good enough," he said to the crowd. "We'll cut salaries so that we can run for the long term, not the short term."
Another segment of Cablevision that may be destined for the chopping block are so-called truck rolls, the home-installation and maintenance services administered by van-driving technicians. Analysts think these may be farmed out to contractors instead of run in-house.
"The risk they run there is not-as-high customer satisfaction," said senior analyst Matthew Harrigan of Wunderlich Securities. "This has been an issue for other companies in the space, as well."
Truck rolls, however, may not be the most logical place to cut costs for Cablevision, whose customers are densely concentrated in the New York City area and therefore more easily serviceable, Harrigan said. While less-clustered customer bases may lend themselves to service from sub-contractors, the move might not be worth an attendant drop in customer satisfaction.
The French-Israeli Drahi also said that he may soon be shopping for a wireless network to augment Altice's suite of cable-based products.
"I'm not saying tomorrow," he said, "but at some point, yes."
Drahi's cost-cutting formula, which has worked well for Altice in France and "implies a sustainable advantage" for the company, according to a September 8 research note by Goldman Sachs, is all but untested in the U.S. market, as are his plans to offer wireless internet, television and phone service as individual products, as opposed to the traditionally-offered "bundles" of cable products.
"This is why people want to see what's going to happen with Cablevision," Harrigan said. "It's new territory."