UPC, Ziggo deal gets greenlight

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The cable group Liberty Global has received approval from the European Commission for the acquisition of Ziggo, the largest cable television operator in the Netherlands.

The European Commission announced its approval on Friday.

Liberty Global has a few commitments to meet. Such as the sale of movie channel Film1 and the removal of clauses from contracts that would impede broadcasters and television stations on the internet. These clauses will not appear in new contracts for at least eight years. Liberty must also offer sufficient capacity on its network for internet content, for example for parties such as Netflix. Subscription channel Film1 must be sold because Ziggo already has an alliance with HBO. Liberty gets to keep its subscription channel Sport1.

Liberty announced its intention to buy Ziggo in late January. Liberty already owns UPC in the Netherlands. At that time the offer valued Ziggo at approximately 10 billion euro. UPC and Ziggo have a network that covers approximately 90% of the Netherlands. Together they deliver television selection to 60%-70% of households.

"The commitments that Liberty Global has made ensure that Dutch consumers will not suffer in the acquisition of Ziggo" said Euro Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, "When viewing audiovisual content they will continue to enjoy the benefits of innovative services and innovative offerings."

In recent months Liberty Global and Ziggo has been working on an integration plan. The integration is expected to be accompanied by job losses. This is due to the fact that there is an overlap in roles at both companies, such as in the fields of marketing and finance. It is currently still unclear how many jobs will disappear.

The new company, which will continue under the name Ziggo, will be led by UPC chairman Baptiest Coopmans. Bert Groenewegen will be the CEO, a position he already holds at Ziggo.