Orange Belgium announced on 24 December that it had reached a final agreement with publicly owned utility group Nethys to acquire 75% less one share of cable operator VOO, based on an enterprise value of EUR1.8 billion (USD2.04 billion) for 100% of the capital. The deal will give Orange Belgium its own fixed network in the Wallonia region and part of Brussels, thus bolstering the implementation of its convergent strategy at a national level. Orange also revealed it plans to upgrade VOO’s cable network and deploy additional FTTH infrastructure.
Nethys will retain a minority stake in VOO and governance rights to guarantee the implementation of the industrial and social project. Orange is offering Nethys the possibility of converting its stake in VOO into Orange Belgium shares to secure the development of VOO and Orange Belgium through further integration between the two companies.
Mari-Noelle Jego-Laveissiere, Executive Vice President, Orange Europe Operations, said: ‘This acquisition reinforces Orange’s leadership in convergence in Europe and confirms the Group’s long-term commitment in Belgium. This operation is based on a strong industrial project, drawing on the complementary nature of Orange Belgium and VOO.’
Xavier Pichon, CEO of Orange Belgium, commented: ‘25 years after the creation of Mobistar and five years after the launch of our first fixed line offers, this operation reinforces the deployment of Orange Belgium’s convergent strategy at national level. Our investment plan will enable us to upgrade the network to multi-gigabit for the benefit of customers and the competitiveness of Wallonia and Brussels. The merger of Orange Belgium and VOO, two companies with highly complementary assets and skills, will benefit the employment and development of the employees of both companies.’
The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions precedent, including the approval of the European Commission expected in 2022.