The acquisition of a 36% stake in Greek telco and pay-TV provider Forthnet by Amsterdam-based United Group has been approved by the EC. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the very limited increase in the merged entity’s market position and the presence of several other players in the market for retail supply of pay-TV services in Greece, including over-the-top services. The EC also found no issues in the upstream markets for the wholesale supply of call termination services on mobile and fixed networks or the downstream markets for retail mobile and fixed telecommunications services.
In June this year United Group, which is owned by BC Partners, agreed to take an initial 36% interest in Forthnet by acquiring shares held by a group of four Greek banks. The deal will be structured so that United Group will not be forced to make an offer to buy out other minority shareholders, but United Group will take on Forthnet’s debt. Forthnet operates under its own name as well as the Nova brand in the pay-TV sector.