UPC buying spree continues

Swedish Stjarn TV latest acquisition

AMSTERDAM — United Pan-Europe Communications has completed its acquisition of Stjarn TV in Sweden, continuing what has become an unprecedented buying spree across Europe since its launch onto the Amsterdam stock exchange (AEX) in February.

A subsidiary of the Denver-based United International Holdings, UPC is the largest privately owned cable company in Europe.

The company is in 11 European territories as well as in Israel, but is close to the acquisition of @Entertainment in Poland and may bid on Cabelcom, the largest cable net in Switzerland later this year.

Plans are for the company to launch cable television, telephony, high-speed Internet access and programming services across all territories in which it is present.

‘Triple play’ launch

Mark Schneider, chairman and CEO of UPC, said the Stjarn acquisition “is an important addition to our Scandinavian strategy. With over 57% personal computer penetration and 38% Internet penetration in Sweden, Stjarn’s upgraded net will allow us to quickly launch our triple play of voice, video and data services.”

The company also has a majority stake in Janco Multicom, one of Norway’s largest cable companies.

UPC has launched three thematic channels in Holland and Internet services in five European territories, including Holland and France.

The company paid $450 million less outstanding net debt of $53 million for 100% of the Stjarn TV, which as of March 31 had 240,000 cable subscribers with some 139,000 on expanded tier service. Across Europe, UPC has upward of 5 million subscribers.

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