European cable multi service operator (MSO) Liberty Global – parent of the Netherlands’ third-largest broadband operator UPC – received approval from the European Commission (EC) to buy additional shares in second-placed Dutch broadband player Ziggo on 10 October. Liberty Global’s deal with the Netherlands’ largest cable MSO will see its ownership stake rise from 28.5% to 100%, costing the company around USD13.6 billion via a stock and cash transaction and creating the Netherlands’ largest TV operator. The merger of Ziggo and UPC Netherlands would also see the cable-based duo overtake Dutch incumbent telco KPN as the largest fixed broadband provider by subscribers.
The deal has faced concerns from the European Union’s Competition Commission as to the impact of the acquisition on the Netherlands’ cable industry; in response Liberty Global has agreed to concessions including selling its ‘Film1’ premium movie channel whilst keeping it on its network for three years, as well as saying it will not prevent online video streaming (OTT) providers – such as Netflix – from using its network for the next eight years.
Bloomberg reported that Netherlands-based Liberty Global spokesman, Bert Holtkamp, said the company is ‘confident of closing the deal shortly after its offer to Ziggo shareholders expires on 4 November.’