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Porter: Telenet could bid for Voo

Liberty Global-backed Belgian cable operator Telenet’s CEO John Porter has expressed an interest in acquiring Voo, which operates in the French-speaking part of the country.

John Porter

Telenet is prepared to table a bid of between €1 billion and €1.3 billion for the operator, according to reports. Earlier, Orange had expressed an interest in acquiring the operator, prompting Voo’s owner Nethys to firmly stat that “Voo is not for sale”.

Orange Belgium CEO Michaël Trabbia had written to Nethys CEO Stéphane Moreau to convey his interest, 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.

Porter told L’Echo newspaper that he respected Nethys’ position, but added that “we also of course hope that this position won’t be forever, especially with regard to us”.

Porter told the paper that there had been contact between the two parties.

Telenet’s acquisition of mobile player BASE from KPN in 2016 and acquisition of SFR Belux from Altice last year gave it a national presence beyond its Flemish home market. The acquisition of Voo would give it greater scale in the fixed network business, enabling it to benefit from synergies and grow its revenues.

Telenet has already 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.

The combination of Telenet and Voo would however be likely to attract the attention of Belgian regulators, as the pair together would account for a significant share of the overall telecom market, with some observers believing a combination of Orange and the Wallonia-region operator would be more likely to secure approval.