Liberty buys Poland’s Aster

Liberty Global has announced an agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the equity of Aster Sp. z.o.o (Aster Cable) from private equity funds of Mid Europa Partners.

Poland’s Aster provides video services to 368,000 (including 92,000 digital TV), 177,000 Internet and 70,000 fixed telephony subscribers.

Mike Fries, President and Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Global said, “Our Polish operation has consistently been one of our best performers over the last several years. This acquisition will enhance our market position and ensure that our superior network and next generation digital and broadband products are made available to Aster’s customers. The Polish cable TV market is highly fragmented, and this is a natural and necessary step towards consolidating the industry and ensuring that cable continues to drive investment and innovation. Given the characteristics of Aster’s business and the proximity to our existing operations, the deal is attractively priced at approximately 7.3 times our estimate of Aster’s 2011 EBITDA, including anticipated annual synergies to be realized following full integration of the acquisition.”

Liberty will acquire 100 per cent of the shares of Aster for a purchase price of PLN 870 million ($292 million). The purchase price, together with Aster’s adjusted net debt at September 30th, 2010 of approximately PLN 1,530 million ($513 million), represents total consideration before transaction costs of approximately PLN 2,400 million ($805 million). Liberty anticipate it will fund the purchase price with liquidity available to LGI, including cash on hand and available debt capacity.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the Polish competition authorities, and is expected to close in the first half of 2011.

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