Altice Europe NV (Euronext ATC, ATCB) says its SFR FTTH business unit has received financial investors (led by OMERS Infrastructure, including Allianz Capital Partners and AXA Investment Managers-Real Assets for € 1 billion ($ 1.1 billion) ) ‘ cash purchase of wholesale fiber optic network service provider Covage. Altice Europe expects the transaction to close in the first half of 2020.

TicAltice Europe becomes the fourth largest wholesale optical fiber network operator in France through Covage. Covage’s fiber footprint currently exceeds 800,000 homes and its target is 2.4 million homes. Altice will combine these fiber network assets with the assets of SFR FTTH, which currently covers 1.7 million homes and plans to reach 5.4 million. Altice said the combined company will continue to “figure” deploy fiber throughout France over the next three to four years.  They will focus on areas where fiber is not yet deployed.

Altice founder Patrick Drahi said: “I am very pleased that we are further expanding FTTH in Europe. We are very proud to combine the outstanding company Covage with our field of business in France to integrate them together. We will also establish a good local relationship in this transaction. ”

Altice said they plan to fund the acquisition, which includes deferred payments of up to 200 million euros ($ 220 million) within six months of the transaction, including 70 million euros of non-recourse raised at Opco Rights debt, cash equity of 465 million euros (512.06 million US dollars) funded by Altice and cash equity of 465 million euros ($ 510.6 million) funded by the SFR FTTH financial investor team. Drahi said the acquisition was in line with the company’s desire to reduce debt.

“We continue to focus on deleveraging Altice Europe, especially thanks to the growth in revenue and EBITDA, which will be supplemented by the sale proceeds.” Drahi said, “As I explained earlier, we are working with several parties on our Portuguese fiber optic assets have been discussed in depth. This transaction has given us an understanding of European fiber optic needs and is strongly supported by SFR FTTH financial partners. “