After completion of the transaction, Liberty Global will continue to be Europe’s leading cable television and broadband provider, with consolidated operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland and Slovakia.
According to a press release by Liberty Global, the four businesses represent approximately 28% of the company’s consolidated 2017 operating cash flow, excluding its share in the VodafoneZiggo joint venture in the Netherlands. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the European Commission, which is expected to make a decision in mid-2019.
Analysts point out that in Hungary, Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty Global’s assets will create a market with two operators owning both fixed and mobile networks. The other operator, T-Mobile, has 47% of the Hungarian mobile market and 28% of the pay TV market. This new deal would make Vodafone the largest fixed broadband provider in Hungary, with a 22% market share as the company already provides such services to medium-sized and large companies.
Robert Redeleanu, Chief Executive Officer of UPC Hungary and UPC Poland, said in connection with the reported transaction that "this is a decisive moment in the history of UPC Hungary. The transaction is a recognition of UPC's achievements and team. It also fits into the development of the telecommunications industry, which is defined by competition and customer service as well as the provision of world-class Internet and media services.” He added that UPC Hungary and Vodafone will work together to build a strong partnership that is capable of delivering gigabit-based broadband and 5G developments, thereby contributing to the government's goal of making Hungary a dominant player in European and global digitization and 5G developments.
Following the competition authority process, a nationwide service provider will be established that is capable of providing ‘quad-play’ (4P) packages: cable, internet, wireless and landline-phone services on a single bill and can provide infrastructure investments for new generation wireless TV and broadband services. According to the CEO, benefits from the transaction will be enjoyed by both retail and business customers for whom they provide greater value-added services and a wider choice. The transaction strengthens competition and encourages other service providers to increase their investments.