EU antitrust authorities have rubber-stamped a deal which will see private equity firms Cinven and Warburg Pincuss LLC buy up the Netherlands’ third largest cableco, Casema, from the Carlyle Group, Providence Equity Partners and GMT Communications Partners for EUR2.1 billion (USD2.6 billion). According to Reuters, the European Commission concluded that the transaction would not harm competition in the local cable TV market, even though Warburg Pincus owns Multikabel — the country’s fourth largest cable TV firm. The Commission decided that there was only a limited overlap between the service areas covered by Casema and Multikabel, although it acknowledged that both offer broadband internet access, fixed voice telephony and other related telecoms services. Warburg Pincus and Cinven are also in the process of snapping up the country’s second largest cableco Essent Kabelcom, having agreed a EUR2.6 billion deal with Essent last month. The equity firms plan to merge the three units to form a company with over 3.3 million customers and pro forma revenues of EUR870 million for the year to 31 December 2005.
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