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Vodafone welcomes regulatory clearance of UPC acquisition

Today the European Commission (EC) cleared Vodafoneʼs acquisition of Liberty Global’s cable businesses in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania for EUR 18.4 billion, including those of UPC Hungary, says a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Vodafone Hungary Chairwoman and CEO Amanda Nelson

The transaction is expected to be completed by July 31, 2019, when Vodafone Hungary and UPC Hungary will start their joint operation, says the press release. In the meantime, both firms will continue their operations separately, serving their customers in the usual manner, via the familiar customer service channels.

Vodafone Hungary says it will grow Gigabit services together with UPC Hungary. The joint company will be able to offer the full suite of convergent services to all segments and will invest in its mobile and fixed Gigabit Networks that support the development of a digital society at an accelerated pace.

"We are a strongly purpose-led business, and our goal in coming together with UPC Hungary is to be able to help more Hungarians than ever before to enjoy good quality, digital services via our Gigabit Networks," says Vodafone Hungary Chairwoman and CEO Amanda Nelson. "We plan to continue to be Hungary’s trusted partner, who can bring inspiring innovations and a full range of services to households and businesses, and as we continue to grow we will ensure it’s done in a sustainable way. My entire team and I are committed to building a great digital future for Hungary."

The deal means that Vodafone will become Europe’s leading converged player, with 116.3 million mobile customers, 22.1 mln TV customers, and a next-generation fixed network reaching a total of 122 mln homes and businesses, notes the press release.

The transaction will bring Vodafone Hungaryʼs share of the local mobile market to 25%, while its share of the broadband fixed-line market will stand at 24%, and its share of the commercial TV market at around 19%, according to state news wire MTI.

UPC subscriber numbers in Hungary stood at over 1.83 mln at the end of March. They included 691,200 cable TV subscribers, 700,400 broadband subscribers, 686,400 fixed-lined telephone subscribers, and 115,800 mobile subscribers, according to MTI.

Liberty Global announced the sale in May 2018, MTI added.