The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said late on Tuesday it had approved European telecoms group Altice NV's acquisition of U.S. cable company Cablevision Systems Corp in a $17.7 billion (12 billion pounds) deal that includes assumption of debt. The Dutch firm still needs approval from the state of New York and New York City. If the deal is approved, Altice would become the fourth largest U.S. cable provider. Cablevision has 3.1 million subscribers, mostly in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The FCC said it found the transaction was in the "public interest" and noted Altice had vowed to invest to upgrade Cablevision broadband. Altice said in a statement it was pleased with FCC approval, "which recognises the benefits that the proposed merger will bring to consumers in the U.S. We continue to make good progress towards a transaction closing in the second quarter of this year."
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