UPC Romania continues cableco buying spree; AKTA puts itself in shop window post-2016

28 Oct 2015

Triple-play cable network operator UPC Romania, the country’s third largest fixed broadband provider, has continued a recent strategy of acquiring smaller cablecos with the purchase of Novasat in Suceava county to add approximately 20,000 TV, internet and telephony subscriptions to its ranks. UPC Romania, part of the Liberty Global group, reported over 1.971 million revenue generating units (RGUs) at end-June 2015, including CATV, broadband, fixed line and DTH subscriptions, and a total of 1.192 million unique customers. The latest acquisition follows the takeover of more than 20,000 TV/internet subscribers from Tita & Company and Green Zone (both in Prahova county) and Olcab and Century Net (both Suceava county), HotNews.ro reported. UPC hopes to rapidly increase its CATV customer base to one million (from 870,000 basic cable customers reported at end-June 2015), local business daily Ziarul Financiar cited the company’s new CEO Robert Redeleanu as saying. The executive added that UPC remains interested in acquiring a list of tens of operators on the market, selected from the sector of roughly 300 independent cablecos in Romania.

In related news, Dinu Malacopol, CEO of Digital Cable Systems (AKTA) – a cable group with a network presence in 32 Romanian counties – updated local press on his company’s preparations for its eventual planned exit from the market via sale to a larger player. Malacopol stated that AKTA has adequate funding for the remainder of 2015 and 2016 to continue ‘an aggressive investment strategy’, but after 2016 he expects to begin talking to potential buyers about a market exit. Noting that AKTA is ‘the largest of the small, and the smallest of the big [cablecos]’ the CEO surmised that ‘many’ suitors would show interest. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, some of AKTA’s immediate investment funding is earmarked for the launch of quad-play services via an MVNO tie-up with an as-yet unconfirmed mobile network partner.

Romania, Digital Cable Systems (AKTA / Dial), UPC Romania (now part of Vodafone)