Ice cream man whips up UPC speculation; renewed takeover talks send ripple through market

14 Oct 2011

According to HotNews.ro, citing unnamed sources close to the company, Romania Cable Systems (RCS&RDS) has resumed previously-denied acquisition talks with rival cableco UPC Romania, with the chances of the deal succeeding now reported as ‘extremely high’. In July 2011, after months of speculation – much of it endorsed by high-ranking government telecoms officials – UPC was forced to issue an official denial. 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.

In July, 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’. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, reports concerning a potential takeover first emerged in February 2011, suggesting that a USD300 million deal had been tabled for UPC.

Romania, RCS&RDS (DIGI), UPC Romania