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Gallic telco to buy Dutch cabler Casema

France Telecom will pay $850 mil for Holland's second-largest outfit

AMSTERDAM — France Telecom has agreed to pay $850 million to acquire Casema, which at 1.1 million connections is Holland’s second-biggest cable company.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the next few days, according to a spokesman from Dutch telecom and postal group KPN, which owns Casema.

KPN was ordered by the Dutch government nearly a year ago to reduce its 77% share in Casema to 20% if it wanted to be a candidate for a telephony license. It has chosen instead to sell up.

France Telecom also is in the running for a telephony license in Holland and its ownership of Casema is likely to make it KPN’s strongest competitor.

Casema was the largest cable company in Holland until mid-November, when UPC (United & Philips Communications) Nederland inked an agreement to merge with Telekabel, a subsidiary of Dutch energy company Nuon, to create United Telekabel Holding, which boasts 1.3 million subscribers.

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