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PTM acquires cable companies

Sonae mulling fresh takeover bid

LISBON — Portuguese cable company PT Multimedia has increased its grip over the country’s pay TV market, snapping up three smaller cable franchises from Parfitel for E60 million ($82.8 million).

The three operators posted joint revenues of $8.29 million for the first three months of the year and have 164,000 subscribers, boosting PTM’s total subscriber base to almost 1.9 million. The company already has more than 80% of the Portuguese cable and satellite TV market.

However, the deal could face opposition from PTM’s main competitor, Sonaecom, which reportedly wants to mount a takeover bid for PTM.

“We’re waiting for PTM to notify the Competition Authority of this operation in order to file our formal opposition,” said Sonaecom’s board of directors in a statement.

According to reports in the Portuguese press, Sonaecom has recently contacted PTM shareholders Banco BPI and investment vehicle Cinvest over a possible acquisition of their stakes in the company, and also plans to contact the state bank, CGD, for the same purpose.

The moves come after Portuguese regulatory authorities expressed concerns about Portugal Telecom’s proposed spinoff of PTM, scheduled for September, which would see its 58% stake distributed to existing shareholders.

The regulatory authorities have expressed concerns that both Portugal Telecom and PTM will continue to maintain the same key shareholders, thus dampening competition between the two companies.

Sonaecom has also criticized the spinoff, especially since its takeover bid for Portugal Telecom in March was rejected on anticompetitive grounds.

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