Telecom operator Orange Belgium has signed an agreement with the inter-municipal company Nethys in Liège regarding the acquisition of VOO, owner of the cable network in Wallonia and Brussels. Orange acquires 75% minus one share of Walloon Communications.
Orange and Netthis already started exclusive negotiations a month ago. Earlier this week, the board of directors of parent company Enodia gave the green light for the takeover. The value of the VOO transaction is estimated at 1.8 billion euros (100 percent of the share capital).
For Orange Belgium, this acquisition represents an “important step forward in the national convergence strategy,” the company said in a press release. The acquisition has yet to obtain approval from the authorities, including the European Commission. Approval is expected next year. Until the transaction is completed, the two companies will continue to operate independently. VOO owns the cable network in Wallonia and Brussels. The company provides fixed and mobile services, as well as broadband Internet and television services.
Orange Belgium will invest in VOO, including the modernization of cables and the launch of optical fibres. The telecom company also points out the advantages of competition in Wallonia and Brussels and the attractive prospects for employees. She said Orange is committed to developing WBCC, the VOO’s call center, and plans to promote BeTV. There are also synergistic benefits, mainly because VOO uses Orange’s GSM network for telephony services.
Nethys maintains a minority stake in VOO. Orange is now offering the inter-municipal company the opportunity to convert this participation into Orange Belgium shares “to protect the development of VOO and Orange Belgium through further integration between the two companies,” it said Friday.
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