Ropes & Gray Shortlisted as a Finance Team Finalist in the Transatlantic Legal Awards

Practices: Finance

Ropes & Gray has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Transatlantic Finance Team of the Year category of the Transatlantic Legal Awards 2019 for its innovative structuring and financing advice on the combination of Altice USA’s Suddenlink (Cequel) and Optimum (Cablevision) businesses.  

The two businesses previously formed two separate credit groups for financing purposes, under a single credit silo.  The transaction, which was completed in 2018, involved exchange offers and consent solicitations in respect of six series of high yield bonds representing an aggregate principal amount of $5.5bn and a $1.25bn Term Loan B refinancing. This enabled the integration of the Suddenlink and Optimum businesses in a leverage-neutral transaction for Altice USA thereby simplifying Altice USA’s financing strategy and financial reporting requirements going forward. 

The transaction involved innovative liability management and structuring techniques designed to provide the most cost effective solution to Altice, while working within the constraints of the existing debt documents at varying levels in the Cablevision and Suddenlink structures.  A novel automatic exchange mechanism was also built into the exchange offer that achieved the client’s commercial and timing objectives while at the same time managing the regulatory uncertainties associated with the transaction at the time of its launch. 

Additionally, Ropes & Gray also had to navigate a complex regulatory and tax issues, a simultaneous corporate reorganisation, the US tender offer and other SEC rules and a tight execution timeline in structuring the transaction. The successful execution of the deal and the pragmatic solution resulted in a high acceptance rate for the exchange offers (99.64%). 

The Ropes & Gray team was led by finance partners Michael Kazakevich, Aditya Khanna and counsel Alexandru Mocanu, supported by Luwam Mezue, Mohammed Al Rasheed, Mansha Malhotra and Shabdita Gupta, all based in London.  Tax advice was provided by David Saltzman, Sara Clevering, Ariella Mutchler, all based in Boston and Chris Shim based in New York. 

The awards, which are hosted by Legal Week, American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel, celebrate achievement, excellence and innovation in the legal profession across the Atlantic.  Winners will be announced at a ceremony on 13 June in London.

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