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Merger makes Liberty hot in Chile

Cable operator owns half of Metropolis, 53% of United Globalcom

HOLLYWOOD — Liberty Media Intl. has tightened its grip on Chile’s cable and broadband Internet business following the country’s approval of the merger between Liberty-controlled Metropolis and VTR.

The combined companies will control 88% of Chile’s cable TV market and half of the broadband Internet business.

Liberty Media, one of the largest cable operators outside the U.S., owns half of Metropolis and 53% of United Globalcom, which in turn owns VTR outright. Liberty petitioned for the approval in January.

The merger will save the company $25 million per annum.

However, Chile’s antitrust tribunal set some restrictions. Among other conditions, the new partners are prohibited from any direct or indirect participation in satellite TV and dominant telcos.

Liberty will have to divest its shares in satellite platform Sky Latin America while Metropolis will have to rid itself of Telefonia CTC Chile, which controls 78.2% of the telco market.

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