Liberty Global unit to buy Altice’s Belgium and Luxembourg business for €400m

Liberty Global unit to buy Altice’s Belgium and Luxembourg business for €400m

Liberty Global’s Belgian business, Telenet, has agreed to buy Altice’s operations in Belgium and Luxembourg for €400 million.

The move is the first disposal in recent times by the acquisitive Altice group, which in the past two years has bought French mobile operator SFR; Cablevision, now called Optimum, and Suddenlink in the US; Portugal Telecom; and Orange’s Dominican Republic business.

No reason has been given for the deal, which some see as indicating that Altice wants to focus on its larger operations.

The business it is selling is called Coditel Brabant, but it also uses the SFR BeLux brand. Liberty Global is buying the operation, subject to regulatory approval, via its majority-owned Telenet subsidiary in Belgium.

John Porter, Telenet CEO, said: “We are very pleased with the acquisition of SFR BeLux as it would enable Telenet to extend its geographical footprint and offer approximately 90,000 customers in Belgium and 15,000 customers in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg the high-quality services for which our company has already won acclaim.”

Telenet specialises in the supply of broadband internet, fixed and mobile telephone services and cable television to customers throughout Flanders and Brussels. In 2015it agreed to buy Base, the Belgian mobile operator, from KPN for €1.325 billion. That deal was completed in February 2016.

Telenet said that the acquisition means it will extend its cable footprint beyond the current Flemish and Brussels coverage areas to parts of Wallonia and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, while covering roughly two-thirds of the Brussels footprint post this acquisition.

“Following the Base acquisition that was concluded in the beginning of the year, we have entered a new phase of growth and this acquisition is a next, very important step in this strategy,” said Porter. “Our ambition is to have the best networks – fixed and mobile – and the best services – landline and mobile telephony, high-speed internet, digital TV – in Belgium. We are also very delighted to be able to launch our great services in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on our own network.”

Telenet said it intends to finance the acquisition through a combination of existing cash and cash equivalents and available liquidity under its revolving credit facilities. It plans to invest €12 million in 2017-18 on the newly acquired networks beyond the current capex plans.

Liberty Global owns a number of operations across Europe, including Virgin Media in the UK and Ireland, and Cable & Wireless Communications in central America and the Caribbean.

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