A multi-billionaire European plays the spoilsport in Quebec

If it were up to Patrick Drahi, a Moroccan of origin who became multibillionaire in France, Cogeco could soon be added to its international empire, which already includes cable companies present in five countries, the daily Release and the chic Sotheby’s house.

Mr. Drahi, 57, made his fortune by multiplying the acquisitions of cable distributors, first in France, then in Portugal, Israel, the Dominican Republic and the United States (Altice USA).

His group, Altice, also owns several television channels in France as well as the publications Release and L’Express.

According to the French magazine Challenges, Patrick Drahi has the ninth largest fortune in France with assets valued at 12.5 billion euros (CA $ 19.3 billion).

Last year, the art lover got his hands on New York-based Sotheby’s auction house for US $ 3.7 billion ($ 4.8 billion).

Tax heavens

Mr. Drahi is used to hostile takeover bids. In 2015, Altice made an unsolicited proposal for the French operator Bouygues Telecom, which however ended in failure.

In 2014, a French minister, Arnaud Montebourg, deplored the presence of Altice (then known as Numericable) in tax havens.

“Numericable has a holding company in Luxembourg, his company is listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, his personal participation is in Guernsey, in a tax haven of Her Majesty the Queen of England, and himself [Patrick Drahi] is a Swiss resident, ”said Mr. Montebourg.

Interestingly, Cogeco has dealt with Altice before. In 2012, Cogeco sold its ailing Portuguese subsidiary, Cabovisão, for $ 60 million. Six years earlier, Cogeco had paid $ 658 million for the company.

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