Finnish telco Elisa is to expand its existing operations in Estonia via the acquisition of cable TV and broadband operator Starman. Elisa will buy 100% of Starman from current shareholders Polaris Invest and Com Holding for EUR151 million (USD162 million). The transaction is subject to the approval of Estonian competition authorities, as well as other usual terms and conditions related to acquisitions. Elisa estimates that the deal will be closed during the first quarter of 2017.
Starman is the second largest broadband provider in Estonia, with 88,000 subscribers at the end of September 2016, while it is also the country’s largest pay-TV operator, with 122,000 cable TV customers and 60,000 digital terrestrial users. Elisa, meanwhile, is the second largest mobile network operator (MNO) in Estonia. The purchase of Starman will give it a fully converged portfolio of services which will mean it is better placed to challenge dominant fixed and mobile operator Telia Eesti (formerly Eesti Telekom).
In March this year it was announced that former Starman shareholder East Capital Explorer (ECEX) had agreed to sell its 63% stake to Providence Equity for EUR81 million. The deal was subsequently derailed, however, when Polaris Invest, a minority shareholder in Starman, moved to exercise its pre-emptive rights to acquire the additional Starman shares at the same terms offered by Providence. The sale of the ECEX shares to Polaris completed this week.