The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has given the all-clear for the sale of Essent Kabelcom to investment companies Cinven and Warburg Pincus. These investment companies also own Casema and Multikabel. Essent Kabelcom and Casema/Multikabel provide services to 55% of Dutch homes that subscribe to cable television. The concentration creates the largest cable company in The Netherlands. Casema is active in the northern part of the provinces of Zuid-Holland, Utrecht and Noord-Brabant; Multikabel operates in the province of Noord-Holland, and Essent Kabelcom is active in the provinces of Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Noord-Brabant and Limburg. All three provide radio and television services as well as broadband internet services and telephony services via their cable networks.
The NMa concluded after investigation that the concentration will not create or strengthen a dominant position that restricts competition. The NMa found that consumer choice will remain unaffected, as the regions in which cable companies operate do not overlap. The NMa has therefore assumed that consumer prices will not increase.
The NMa investigation focused on the issue whether or not the stronger buying position of companies vis-à-vis programme providers may, as a result of the concentration, adversely affect the choice of television channels provided to consumers. This has proved not to be the case. The investigation also shows that the concentration will not adversely affect emerging alternatives, such as digital television and DSL television. Source: Press Release NMa, 8 December 2006 at www.nmanet.nl