Cellco takes a Bite out of Baltcom

10 Mar 2020

Latvian cellco Bite has been cleared by local antitrust authority the Competition Council (Konkurences padome, KP) to acquire fibre and cable-based ISP Baltcom. The takeover deal – the value of which was not disclosed – was agreed in September last year and greenlit by KP on 20 February. In a press release from the company, Bite said it completed the acquisition on 28 February and had submitted an application to Latvia’s business register the same day for changes to Baltcom’s ownership and board, although the registration process has not yet been completed. Once complete, Baltcom will be incorporated into Bite and cease using its previous branding.

In its decision to approve the takeover, the KP had noted that there potential concerns regarding the pay-TV market as Bite Latvia also owns All Media Baltics, which provides wholesale TV services in the country. However, existing restrictions on Bite’s distribution of TV content dating back to a 2017 regulatory decision require the group to offer its content to all market participants on non-discriminatory terms. As such, the watchdog ruled that there was no new threat to competition in the market. The KP saw no danger to other sectors in which the two companies are active as a result of the merger.

Commenting on the takeover, Bite Latvia CEO Kaspars Buls was quoted as saying: ‘The merger of both companies is an important step in strengthening the competitiveness of the BITE Group. As a result of the transaction, our customers will be the main beneficiaries and we will be able to offer not only mobile services and ICT solutions to business customers, but also home internet and a wide range of television channels for individuals.’ The official went on to note that integrated services were increasingly popular with consumers, and that the tie-up would allow the cellco to offer a diverse range of services to users.

Latvia, Baltcom, Bite Latvia