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Liberty Global Eyes Polska to Expand Footprint in Poland

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Liberty Global plc. (LBTYA - Free Report) , a leading cable MSO (multi service operator) in Europe and Latin & Central America, recently entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the cable business of Multimedia Polska S.A. for a consideration of approximately $760 million. Notably, Multimedia Polska is the third largest cable TV operator in Poland. The all-cash transaction is likely to be completed in next one year subject to customary regulatory clearances.

Liberty Global already has a strong presence in Poland which operates under the UPC Poland brand. For video service, Multimedia Polska competes with UPC Poland and Vivendi SA and for Internet service, the company’s main competitor is Orange SA (ORAN - Free Report) . Liberty Global will not be acquiring Multimedia Polska’s other businesses like insurance, gas and energy operations.

As of Jun 30, 2016, UPC Poland passed 3.1 million homes, or around 20% of total households in Poland, serving 1.4 million unique customers who subscribed to 2.9 million cable subscription services. At the end of second-quarter 2016, Multimedia Polska passed 1.6 million homes mainly through its hybrid fiber-coaxial cable network, serving 832,000 unique customers who subscribed to 1.4 million subscription services consisting of 643,000 video, 491,000 broadband and 241,000 telephony RGUs. In addition, Multimedia Polska had 54,000 mobile subscribers at Jun 30, 2016.

Earlier in Aug 2016, the European Union Competition Commission (EC) approved the proposed 50-50 joint venture (JV) between Liberty Global and Vodafone Group plc. (VOD - Free Report) in the Netherlands after both companies jointly offered some concessions.

The companies hope to achieve annual cost savings of about €280 million from the merger of their businesses. This JV will allow them to offer bundles of cable TV, high-speed broadband and mobile phone services to their combined 15 million customers. Leading telecom operators in Europe, such as Deutsch Telekom and BT Group plc. (BT - Free Report) are also looking at options to offer bundled services to their customers.

Liberty Global currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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