Liberty marches on, UPC Romania sale?

International MSO Liberty Global revealed quarterly revenue up 17.8 per cent following on good growth in Germany and Poland, and confirmed its European expansion ambitions. “Over 80 per cent of our business is now squarely focused in Europe… we remain well capitalized to pursue additional consolidation opportunities in our core European markets,”  said president and chief executive Mike Fries.

In Europe, Liberty Global’s UPC operations added 178,700 RGUs in the fourth quarter giving it a total of 13,953,100 at the end of December 2010 with the strongest growth came in Germany with 95,500 new RGUs. In central and eastern Europe, the company added 86,100 RGUs to a total of 6,311,600. Poland added the most new RGUs with 37,900 additions.

The company continued to shed analogue TV subscribers losing 300,000 analogue cable TV customers in the quarter across the UPC Broadband division, but added a total of 229,000 digital homes in the same period, as well as 46,000 DTH homes in central and eastern Europe.

Liberty Global’s German operator Unitymedia reported full year results with the addition of 340,100 RGUs in 2010, for a total of six million. The operator increased full year revenue by 6 per cent to €935 million, with blended ARPU up 8 per cent to €15.07. Adjusted EBITDA was up 11 per cent to €521 million. 

Meanwhile local reports persist that Romanian pay TV operator RCS&RDS is close to acquiring UPC Romania.

The company, which operates both DTH and cable TV services, is in talks with investment banks to finance the acquisition of the Liberty Global-owned cable operator, according to reports. The price is likely to be around $300 million for the 1.16 million subscriber network.

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