The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has submitted competition concerns about the proposed takeover of Multimedia Polska, the country’s third largest cable operator, by the market leader UPC.
In a statement, the UOKiK says that in the case of pay-TV (satellite and IPTV) services it has concluded that the deal would have a major impact on competition in 15 Polish cities. However, it would not lead to competition with the providers of DTT services, which are available for free in the country.
The UOKiK adds that it reached a similar conclusion after examining the fixed internet market, with competition also likely to be strongly impacted in 15 cities.
Commenting on the UOKIK’s initial findings, its president Marek Niechcial said: “The analysis by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection has proved that the concentration has led to the restriction of competition on the markets concerned with paid-TV services and fixed-line internet in a number of Polish cities, hence we expressed our reservations on the competition. A trader has 14 days to respond, though he can extend this term by next two weeks”.
Broadband TV News notes that Liberty Global’s UPC encountered similar difficulties when it acquired the cable operator Aster several years ago. It was subsequently forced to sell on some of Aster’s assets to a third party in order to address the UOKiK’s concerns. This, in turn, allowed the alternative telco Netia to enter the Polish cable market.
As previously reported by Broadband TV News, the sale of Multimedia Polska, in a cash transaction worth around $760 million, was first announced in October last year.