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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners agreed to buy Astound Broadband, the sixth largest U.S. cable operator, from TPG Capital and Patriot Media Management for $8.1 billion (including $4.5 billion of debt).

Why it matters: TPG is expected to generate at least a 3x return, reflecting how cable companies have more than compensated for lost "bundle" revenue with higher-speed internet offerings for customers who are working or schooling from home.

  • Astound has over 1 million customers, via such brands as RCN, Grande, Wave, and enTouch.
  • A source says that the sale process was run by JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, while Bloomberg reports that rival bidders included The Blackstone Group and I Squared Capital.

The bottom line: "Patriot, which manages Astound, will partner with Stonepeak and continue to run the company. Its operating profits are already climbing at an industry-leading clip and they aim to continue that through a combination of organic growth and further acquisitions in an industry populated by hundreds of smaller operators," per The Wall Street Journal.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
46 mins ago - Economy & Business

New deals in the COVID economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the macro horror of our lifetimes, and has destroyed or severely damaged countless businesses. But, like with most horribles, it also has created some opportunities.

Driving the news: Merck this morning announced an agreement to buy OncoImmune, a Maryland-based biotech that showed promising late-stage clinical results for a therapy that treats severe and critical coronavirus cases.

1 hour ago - Technology

Biden's openings for tech progress

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images 

Item No. 1 on President-elect Joe Biden's day-one tech agenda, controlling the flood of misinformation online, offers no fast fixes — but other tech issues facing the new administration hold out opportunities for quick action and concrete progress.

What to watch: Closing the digital divide will be a high priority, as the pandemic has exposed how many Americans still lack reliable in-home internet connections and the devices needed to work and learn remotely.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Saudi Arabia denies Netanyahu met secretly with crown prince

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif at a press conference on Nov. 18. Photo: Menahem Kahana/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled in secret Sunday to the city of Neom on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli sources told me.

The latest: Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan on Monday denied the meeting took place — a signal that the Saudis may be unhappy with the leak or are at least trying to publicly distance themselves from the meeting. Netanyahu, on the other hand, has not denied the story.

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