Belgian cable operator Telenet plans to resume talks concerning a possible takeover of rival UPC Belgium, local paper De Tijd reports. UPC is majority-owned by US group Liberty Global, which also holds a significant stake in Telenet via its subsidiary Belgian Cable Investors. The report follows a deal struck by Belgian Cable Investors last week to increase its stake in Telenet to 28.07%. Liberty has long been looking to ramp up its operations in Europe and has been repeatedly linked with attempts to merge Telenet with its majority-owned Brussels-based cable operator UPC Belgium.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, a merger of Telenet and UPC Belgium would create a powerful cable operator with a nationwide presence. Telenet provides its services through the cable networks of 16 local municipal cable operators (Intermunicipalities), which are connected via its own SDH 11,000km fibre-optic backbone. It leases other networks in Brussels, the Walloon provinces and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In total the HFC networks pass more than 2.48 million franchised homes in Flanders, equal to around 99% of Belgium’s Flemish speaking population (and around 58% of the country’s total population). UPC Belgium provides cable television and communications services to residential and business customers in seven districts of Brussels as well as in nearby Leuven, Heverlee and Kessel-Lo. It covered a franchise area of around 156,500 homes at the end of 2005.