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Telenet moves into French-speaking Belgium with Altice acquisition

TelenetLiberty Global’s Belgian unit Telenet is to acquire cable operator Coditel Brabant from international cable and telecom group Altice for €400 million in a move that will extend its presence from Flanders to Brussels, French-speaking Wallonia and Luxembourg.

Coditel Brabant operates under the SFR brand, providing cable services in Brussels, Wallonia and Luxembourg as well as mobile telephony services in Belgium through an MVNO agreement with BASE, the former KPN subsidiary acquired by Telenet earlier in 2016.

The deal means that Telenet will extend its coverage in Brussels tou about two thirds of the city footprint, as well as giving it a national presence for the first time, enabling it to compete head on with Proximus.

The acquisition values Altice’s operation in the two countries – referred to as SFR BeLux in the agreement – at 6.5 times estimated 2016 EBITDA and is expected to generate annual synergies of €16 million by 2021.

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.

Telenet said it would invest an additional €12 million in 2017-18 in modernising the SFR BeLux network.

Altice was reported to be considering a sale of its Belgian unit last year, having lost out to Telenet in the battle to take control of BASE in 2015.

Telenet said it was confident of obtaining regulatory approval for the deal.