@Entertainment to be bought by United Intl. subsid

AMSTERDAM — Dutch-based United Pan Europe Communications (UPC) moved to widen its footprint in Europe with an agreement to acquire Polish cable, digital direct-to-home (DTH) and program provider @Entertainment.

UPC, a subsidiary of United Intl. Holdings, will offer a tender to acquire all of the outstanding shares of @Entertainment’s common stock. The takeover comes on the back of UPC’s launch last February onto the Amsterdam and Nasdaq stock exchanges to raise capital for expansion.

UPC has cable systems in 11 territories with some 3.4 million subs. @Entertainment operates the digital DTH platform Wijza TV. As of the end of March, subs for Wijza reached about 1.1 million, with cable customers totaling 948,000. Digital DTH subscribers reached 130,000.

The purchase appears to coincide with programming arm UPC TV’s strategy to launch joint-venture theme channels across Europe and other plans on the part of UPC to be at the forefront of the broadband revolution.

UPC is already a provider of broadband cable services to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The move, said @Entertainment CEO Robert Fowler, “will bring significant benefits to our customers by introducing them to high-speed broadband Internet access, data communications and telephony.”

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