UPC given conditions for Aster acquisition

7 Sep 2011

Poland’s anti-monopoly watchdog, the office of competition and consumer protection (UOKiK) has issued its consent for US-backed UPC Polska to acquire cableco Aster under certain conditions. UOKiK noted that in Warsaw and Krakow, Aster and UPC were ‘visibly the two most powerful undertakings’ and had a combined market share of 50%-60%. Poland’s antitrust law however, defines a dominant position as 40% and UOKiK believes that the acquisition would result in a ‘significant restriction of competition…which would definitely be harmful to the recipients’. To alleviate any potential constriction of competition, UPC has been told that within 18 months it must resell parts of its network, formerly belonging to Aster, where services had previously been provided by both companies. In addition, in those buildings previously served by both operators, Aster customers must be given the option to choose an alternative provider without penalty. In order for the deal to go ahead, Liberty Global’s UPC must demonstrate to the regulator how it intends to meet the conditions within the stipulated time limit. UOKiK may still move to block the purchase if it believes that UPC has not done enough to foster competition.

Poland, Aster, UPC Poland