UPC France Commission Clears Acquisition

The European Commission has cleared British investment fund Cinven’s acquisition of the French cable TV, broadband and telephony provider UPC France from Liberty Global.

The 1.25-billion euros deal was first announced in March, with a deal formally signed in June. Cinven owns a majority stake in Altice, which includes three cable operators: Est Vidéocommunication in Alsace, Coditel Bruxelles and Coditel Luxembourg. And last year, Cinven acquired France Télécom Câble and NC Numéricâble in a 528-million euros deal. Cinven now adds UPC-Noos to that operation, covering the majority of France’s cable subscribers.

The Commission has concluded “that the new entity would not be in a position to exercise market power over pay-TV channel broadcasters given its share of total sales of distribution rights for these channels, particularly compared with the two French satellite platform operators (TPS and CanalSatellite).”

The Commission also found that “the merger would not significantly restrict effective competition, since each cable operator already holds a de facto monopoly position in the geographical area covered by its cable network and since combining the networks within the new entity would not result in any real reduction in choice for consumers.”