99 problems? Flaky UPC rejects RCS&RDS rumour; ice cream man gets frosty reception

19 Jul 2011

UPC Romania has hit out at local press speculation indicating that it is set to be taken over by market rival Romania Cable Systems (RCS&RDS). In an official statement emailed to business daily Ziarul Financiar (ZF), the cableco said: ‘In recent months there have been many speculations in the market and rumours about a possible takeover of UPC by RCS&RDS. We want to clarify this situation: UPC [has not participated in] any discussions with RCS&RDS on a potential transaction. The only commitment UPC [has is to its] customers to provide television services, internet and telephony to the highest standards’.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, reports first emerged in February 2011 linking RCS&RDS with a USD300 million deal for UPC. Yesterday, the speculation was given added impetus when Competition Council (CC) president Bogdan Chiritoiu stated that a consultation had taken place between the three parties, whilst conceding that no formal offer had been tabled by RCS&RDS. The admission marked the first official acknowledgment of the deal since communications minister Valerian Vreme indicated that any potential acquisition would need to be analysed by the Competition Council in February. 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’.

The increasingly dominant RCS&RDS – which is owned by reclusive ice cream vendor-turned- telecoms tycoon Zoltan Teszari – has surged to pole position in the Romanian broadband market in recent years, toppling fixed line incumbent RomTelecom with its highly acquisitive strategy.

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