Following a competitive selection process, Orange Belgium has been chosen by utility group Nethys to enter exclusive negotiations to acquire 75% minus one share of the capital of cable operator VOO based on an enterprise value of EUR1.8 billion (USD2.03 billion) for 100% of the capital.
In a press release, Orange claimed the acquisition will enable it to operate a very high speed network in Wallonia and areas of Brussels, thereby reinforcing the deployment of its convergent strategy at a national level. ‘The ambitious investment plan and the combination of both companies’ competences will make it possible to ensure and strengthen the quality of VOO’s network in the long term, serving customers and the competitiveness of the Walloon and Brussels regions,’ it added.
Orange Belgium, which does not have its own fixed broadband network, noted it would finance this transaction by increasing its debt, with the support of Orange Group. Further details of the transaction will be disclosed at the time of signing.
Rival bidder Telenet, which operates a cable network covering almost four million households in the Flanders and Brussels regions, expressed its regret at not being selected, claiming the deal would have ‘brought benefits to the overall competitive landscape in Belgium, the Walloon and Brussels regions and for VOO as a company’.