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Eurobites: Merger Set to Create New Cable Giant in Poland

Paul Rainford
8/29/2018

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telenor claims mobile broadband speed record; Tele2 announces leadership team as it completes Com Hem acquisition; Vodacom reportedly in talks with Telkom over roaming deal.

  • Poland's second- and third-largest cable operators have agreed a takeover deal that, if approved, would create a new cable leader in the country, reports Business Insider Polska. Vectra, which has 900,000 customers, plans to swallow Multimedia Polska, which has more than 750,000 customers and which is currently owned by M2 Investments (51.93%), TriMedia Holdings (46.49%) and assorted others (1.58%). Combined, Vectra and Multimedia Polska would be bigger than current market leader UPC Polska -- part of the Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) empire -- which has about 1.43 million cable service customers. No financial details of the proposed deal have been released. Liberty Global tried to acquire Multimedia Polska in 2016 for US$760 million but the move was blocked by Poland's competition authorities: Let's see how they like this proposed marriage. (See Liberty Global Buys Another Polish MSO.)

  • Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) is laying claim to the fastest mobile network in the world, citing the results of 120,000 tests carried out by customers using Ookla's Speedtest app in the second quarter of this year. The tests found an average download speed on Telenor's Norwegian network of 72.05 Mbit/s, just beating T-Mobile's network in the Netherlands.

  • Still in the Nordics, Sweden's Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has announced who will be sitting at the top table in the wake of its $3.3 billion acquisition of cable operator Com Hem AB . They are as follows: Mikael Larsson (currently the CFO of Com Hem) becomes executive vice president, Group CFO; Samuel Skott (currently executive vice president, CEO Tele2 Sweden) becomes executive vice president, Sweden Consumer; Karin Svensson (currently a self-employed human resources advisor) becomes executive vice president, chief people and change officer; and Stefan Backman (currently executive vice president, group general counsel at Tele2) effectively stays in the same job. All of these positions will report directly to Anders Nilsson, incoming CEO of the Tele2 Group. Additional new roles are due to be announced before the completion of the deal. (See Sweden's Tele2 to Swallow Com Hem in $3.3B Deal.)

  • South Africa's largest mobile operator, Vodacom Pty. Ltd. , is reportedly in talks with Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) over a possible roaming deal, according to a Bloomberg report. Vodacom's previous roaming partner, Cell C Pty Ltd, "jumped ship" to Vodacom rival MTN earlier this year, leaving Vodacom with a hole in its top line (so to speak). For more on this, see Will Vodacom Strike Roaming Deal With Telkom?.

  • Swiss operator Salt SA added 12,000 mobile postpaid customers in the second quarter, a period in which it saw revenue increase 1.4% year-on-year to 260.6 million Swiss francs ($266.7 million) and earnings rise 4.2% to CHF122 million ($124.8 million). It now has nearly 1.24 million post-paid mobile customers in total. This month Salt announced Pascal Grieder, late of McKinsey, as its new CEO, replacing Andreas Schoenenberger.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has deployed what it describes as an energy-efficient "triple standard" (2G, 3G and 4G) rural coverage site in Myanmar. The site uses Ericsson's Psi technology, which keeps total power consumption below 1kW per site.

  • Telia has agreed a deal to bring the HBO channel to its TV offerings in Estonian, Lithuania and Latvia. In Estonia and Lithuania, the HBO programming is available exclusively through Telia, while in Latvia it will be served up via cable and IPTV through Telia partners LMT and Lattelecom.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Joe Stanganelli
    Joe Stanganelli
    8/29/2018 | 11:25:34 PM
    HBO overseas
    I am curious to know if HBO's recent decision to eliminate adult-entertainment/so-called "late night" programming had anything to do with making overseas deals more palatable.
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