Ice cream man permitted to scoop up UPC; CC ‘not against’ RCS&RDS takeover

18 Jul 2011

According to Romanian business newspaper Ziarul Fianciar, the country’s Competition Council (CC) has confirmed that it is ‘not against’ the mooted takeover of UPC Romania by Romania Cable Systems (RCS&RDS). CC president Bogdan Chiritoiu conceded that a consultation had taken place between the three parties, although no formal offer has been tabled by RCS&RDS. The admission marks the first official acknowledgment of the deal since February 2011, when communications minister Valerian Vreme indicated that any potential acquisition would need to be analysed by the Competition Council. At that time, Vreme said that he did not believe that the deal would lead to a monopoly market situation. Chiritoiu commented: ‘There were talks with one side and another, but no formal takeover notice … It is a large market share, obviously, but [the deal] should be considered. They argue, and I am willing to accept, that not only power matters, because people now have alternatives’. CC president Chiritoiu clarified that the discussions focused on the price-tag attached to UPC Romania, which has been set at around USD300 million.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, RCS&RDS – which is owned by the enigmatic businessman Zoltan Teszari – currently ranks as Romania’s largest broadband provider in terms of subscribers, and also has a presence in the country’s fixed line, mobile and pay-TV markets. Prior to assuming control of RCS&RDS, the notoriously secretive Teszari famously ran an ice cream kiosk.

Romania, RCS&RDS (DIGI), UPC Romania (now part of Vodafone)