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Aster sale goes ahead but Liberty must sell assets

Poland’s antitrust regulator has approved Liberty Global’s acquisition of Polish cable operator Aster. However, UOKiK said it was conditional on Liberty Global, which operates under the UPC Polska brand in Poland, selling areas of the network that overlap in Warsaw and Krakow.

UOKiK said it was concerned that the combined networks would give Liberty Global a 50-60% market share in Poland’s two largest cities, putting it in a too-dominant position. In a statement, the regulator said, “According to the antitrust authority, the transaction would result in a significant restriction of competition on the market of chargeable television and the access to the stationary broadband internet in the area of the two cities, which would definitely be harmful to the recipients.”

Liberty Global agreed to buy Aster from Mid Europa Partners last December for approximately PLN2.4 billion (€566 million).

Summing up, UOKiK said,” UPC Polska is allowed to take control over Aster under the condition it will resell a part of network belonging to Aster in the buildings where till now the services were provided by both companies. The transaction must be performed within 18 months from the date of its issuance and refers to the territory of [Krakow] and Warsaw.”