Aster la vista, baby; Netia snaps up networks from rival

5 Mar 2013

Polish triple-play provider Netia has signed an agreement with its chief rival, US-backed cableco UPC Poland, to acquire infrastructure previously operated by Aster, prior to its takeover by UPC in September 2011. The cable network covers some 446,000 homes, apartments and businesses in Warsaw and Krakow and will boost Netia’s total coverage by 17% to 2.8 million homes passed. The pecuniary details of the deal were not disclosed, though Netia noted that the transaction will have ‘no material impact on the financial forecast Netia presented for 2013.’

As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the purchase of Aster by Liberty Global Inc (LGI)-owned UPC was subject to certain conditions after anti-trust watchdog the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) raised concerns regarding the level of overlap across the two networks, fearing that the enlarged company would have an unreasonable level of dominance over access to end users in certain areas of Krakow and Warsaw. To remedy the situation, the UOKiK ruled that UPC must resell parts of the former Aster network where buildings were served by both operators over the subsequent 18 months. Further, any households that meet the above conditions were to be given the option to switch operators without incurring a penalty.

Netia CEO Miroslaw Godlewski added: ‘The acquisition of such a large network of former Aster, in such attractive markets is another important step in the implementation of Netia’s strategy, which is based on the development of on-network multimedia and online services.’

Poland, Aster, Netia, UPC Poland