Polish DTH platforms to merge

07.23 Europe/London, November 2, 2011 By Chris Dziadul

ITI and TVN have entered into a strategic partnership with Canal+ in Poland. As a result, they now expect to combine their pay-TV businesses and create a DTH platform with over 2.5 million subscribers.

In a statement, ITI Group says that TVN Group will combine its subsidiary ITI Neovision with Cyfra+ in exchange for a significant minority stake in the combined entity. No cash payment by the TVN Group is contemplated.
It adds that alongside this, Canal+ Group is to acquire a significant minority stake in N-Vision B.V.
The latter is the parent company of Polish Television Holding B.V (PTH), which in turn holds a 51% stake majority stake in TVN.
As part of the agreement, Canal+ Group has been granted an option to acquire the remaining portion of the controlling stake in TVN over time from ITI Group.
ITI Group currently holds a 56.21% stake in TVN and, as reported in Rzeczpospolita, is unlikely to sell the remainder until 2016/17, by when TVN should have paid off debts of PLN2 billion (Ä451.6 million).
Vivendi-backed Canal+ Cyfrowy operates the DTH platform Cyfra+, which has around 1.5 million subscribers, while TVNís interests include the DTH platform n and pay pre-paid DTH service TNK.
By combining the operations they will be better able to compete with the market leader Cyfrowy Polsat, which has close to 3.5 million subscribers.
The majority of Polandís satellite transmissions come from the Eutelsat Hot Bird neighbourhood at 13 degrees East, where there is already sharing of channels through the simulcrypt system in place for Cyfra+ (Nagravision) and n (Conax).