Cartel office approves cable deal

Germany’s federal cartel office has given the green light to cable company Unitymedia’s purchase of the local cable networks in the towns of Aachen and Wiesbaden from smaller competitor PrimaCom.
The acquisition, for which the company paid a total of around €49 million, should be completed by the end of August. The transaction was announced earlier this month. With the annexation of PrimaCom’s “last mile” level 4 networks to its preceding level 3 networks, Unitymedia will in future be able to supply the approximately 100,000 cable households in Aachen and Wiesbaden directly with its triple play bundle of TV, internet and telephony. To make this technically possible, the company plans to upgrade the networks at a cost of around €7 million.

In return, PrimaCom plans to concentrate on its focus regions in mid and eastern Germany.

Unitymedia reported subscribers up from 5.546 million at the end of June 2007 to 5.936 million at the end of June 2008. The proportion of subscribers taking new services such as digital TV or broadband internet doubled to 22%, or 1.224 million. Basic cable subs fell 152,000 to 4.712 million. Cable revenues grew 13% to €409.3 million.