A Belgian court has suspended the controversial sale of cable operator VOO to private equity group Providence, upholding a legal challenge by rival bidder Orange Belgium, reports L’Echo. Orange had sought an injunction in February to suspend the deal agreed between VOO’s co-owner, Belgian utility company Nethys, and Providence, believing it had been discriminatory.
Nethys, which operates VOO in partnership with Brussels-based cableco BruTele, originally agreed the sale to Providence in May 2019, although the deal was suspended in September following press reports that VOO’s management may have had a conflict of interest, while BruTele’s management also claimed it had not been fully informed of the agreement.
According to the report, the court ruled the initial sales agreement sealed in May 2019 was fraudulent and against the public interest, while a second deal concluded in December 2019 was based on the earlier deal and was therefore also invalid. Enodia, the public holding company that owns Nethys, has said it will not appeal and the decision and will instead restart the sale process.