UPC Polska assesses Aster deal

12.04 Europe/London, October 18, 2011 By Chris Dziadul

PIKE 2011 – POZNAN. UPC Polska president Simon Boyd has criticised the competition authority UOKiK’s view of what constitutes competition in the Polish market in the light of the recent acquisition of Aster by the Liberty Global-owned cable operator.

Speaking in a panel discussion entitled Investments vs mergers and acquisitions, he said that UPC Polska already faces stiff competition from the incumbent telco TPSA and Cyfrowy Polsat, with the latter growing even stronger in the city of Kraków.
“We don’t want a situation where cable is weak. Maybe TPSA wants us to be weaker. We think that they should invest themselves, rather than weaken the competition.”
Boyd added that UPC Polska now has 18 months to sell some of the networks acquired from Aster as part of the conditions laid out by the UOKiK.
It is currently focussing on the integration of the UPC Polska and Aster businesses. He also spoke strongly about the need for consolidation.
UOKiK president Malgorzata-Krasnodebska-Tomkiel meanwhile said that the office only intervenes in “extreme examples” and nearly always approves deals.
It regards pay-TV as one market, irrespective of the method of delivery, and felt there would be limited competition in Warsaw and Kraków had UPC Polska’s take-over of Aster gone ahead without any preconditions.