Friday, September 29, 2006

Creating the second monopoly

A Platinum Class charter member mega-uber value reader points to coverage of the Dutch cable consolidation process in the ever-vigilant Trouw. It seems that there has been total radio silence since Warburg Pincus and Cinven completed their acquisition of Essent Kabelcom with regards to regulatory approval of the merger of Essent with Casema and Multikabel, previous Cinven/Warburg Pincus acquisitions. The article states that Essent sent a letter to the Competition Commission on or around 15th September. Usually this would result in some public acknowledgement within a week or so - but nothing so far (they are pretty busy, it would seem). Some assert that Essent has sent a draft and is in discussions with the Commission to assure approval, after which an official statement will be made. This puts national competition regulator NMa in the strange position of having to ask permission to rule on something which the EU is perceived to have already approved. The Commission previously approved joint ownership of Casema and Multikabel, but this proposed merger would create a combined customer base of 3.3m, more than half of the total cable footprint of the country. Perhaps KPN's claims of the need for an end to assymetrical regulation of cable and PSTN get a boost with the arrival of a second incumbent?

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