Published: 08.29 Europe/London, June 9, 2011

A decision on whether or not Liberty Global will be allowed to take over the Polish cable operator Aster is still several weeks away, according to Malgorzata Krasnodebska-Tomkiel, the president of the country’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK).

Quoted in Wirtualne Media, she added that the work on assessing the proposed deal was now its final phase.

However, only last month she said that a decision on the deal, which was proving to be “difficult and complicated”, was likely to be announced within a fortnight.

The news that Liberty Global had reached an agreement to buy 100% of Aster, Poland’s fourth largest cable operator, from Mid Europa Partners (MEP) for a fee of PLN870 million, equivalent to $292 million (€217.6 million) at December 3, 2010 rates, was announced six month ago.

Although it was expected to close in H1 this year, few expected the UOKiK to take so long in making its decision.

However, the delay is to some degree understandable, given the implications it will have on the Polish cable market.

A positive ruling will further strengthen UPC’s position as the leading operator, with double the number of subscribers as its closest competitor, Vectra.