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Cable giant Altice USA pops more than 5% in $1.9 billion IPO

Key Points
  • Altice USA started trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ATUS.
  • The fourth-largest U.S. cable provider priced its IPO at $1.9 billion.
Altice USA CEO: We'd absolutely buy 'other stuff' in the next few years

Shares of Altice USA shot up Thursday morning as the cable giant made its public trading debut. The stock started trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ATUS.

The fourth-largest U.S. cable provider priced its IPO at $1.9 billion, with its 63.9 million shares selling for $30 apiece, within the expected range of $27 to $31. Shares were above $31.75 on Thursday morning, up more than 5.8 percent.

Altice USA, a subsidiary of the European broadband company, has 4.9 million customers in 21 states, according to regulatory filings.

Revenues were $2.31 billion in the March quarter, up 1.4 percent year over year. Altice posted a net loss of about $76.2 million during the quarter, narrower than the $190.1 million loss from the year-ago period.

Altice founder Patrick Drahi, left, and co-founder Armando Pereira pose for photos outside the New York Stock Exchange, before the company's IPO, Thursday, June 22, 2017.
Richard Drew | AP

CEO Dexter Goei told CNBC on Thursday that the company is keeping an eye out for deals and acquisitions, as well as providing better products, prices and customer service.

"We always said we had a lot of things we wanted to do over the next couple of years: Investment in the network, a lot of the improvements in the technology," Goei told "Squawk on the Street." "If we have the opportunity over the next three, four years to buy other stuff, we would absolutely look at that."

The cable company behind Optimum, Lightpath and Suddenlink announced an ambitious plan last year to take on Google Fiber and Verizon Fios, by bringing a network of high-speed fiber optic internet to 20 states over the next five years.

Altice's planned 10-gigabit per second connection far outpaces Google Fiber's current 1-gigabit per second connection, as well as Verizon Fios. Altice's "future-proof" plan comes as Google has scaled back its own expansion plans for the ultra-fast internet cables.

It comes as faster mobile internet standards, 5G, are also coming soon. Although more consumers are considering moving their video consumption online and mobile, Goei said that buying a wireless provider isn't an immediate focus. Altice USA is, however, "overinvesting" in content, Goei said.

"At the end of the day, if you've got spectrum, you still need fiber," Goei said. "We look forward to working with the wireless providers and developing 5G with them."

Altice USA's parent company will hold 70.3 percent of Altice USA's shares and 98.3 percent of the voting rights in the company.

Disclosure: CNBC's parent company, Comcast, is a cable and internet service provider. Reuters contributed to this report.