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Owner denies Voo is for sale as Orange expresses interest

Belgian utility Nethys, the owner of Wallonia region cable operator Voo, has said that the company is not for sale after reports that mobile operator Orange wanted to buy it.

Nethys’ administrative council said that it had taken note of Orange’s expression of interest in Voo, along with that of Telenet, but that it “unanimously expressed its position that Voo is not for sale” following a meeting on March 30.

Orange Belgium CEO Michaël Trabbia had previously written to Nethys chief executive Stéphane Moreau to convey its interest in Voo, arguing that a combination of the two groups would create a “major player” in the south of the country and contribute to the digital development of the region.

Liberty Global-backed Flemish region cable operator Telenet has developed a close partnership with Voo in mobile. In February, Telenet agreed to provide mobile network access to Voo as part of a five-year MVNO deal.

Orange offers its own low-cost fixed broadband and TV service in Belgium. Last year the operator welcomed proposals by Belgian regulators to apply new rules for wholesale pricing to the country’s cable networks, including that of Voo, depending on how much fixed-line competition there was in various parts of the country. Orange said at the time that under existing rules it was unable to bundle its broadband and TV service with fixed telephony on an economically sustainable basis.