France Télécom sells cable company to Liberty Media

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France Télécom sells cable company to Liberty Media

France Télécom has agreed to sell Dutch cable operator Casema to US media company Liberty Media for €750m (£471m) in cash.

The sale, part of France Télécom's efforts to reduce its debt load, does not come as a surprise. The French telecommunications group had been trying to offload Casema for months. Rumours of talks with Liberty Media first surfaced in May.

Casema had about 1.3 million subscribers at the end of last year, making it the third-largest cable TV operator in the Netherlands, according to France Télécom. Casema provides cable Internet access and cable TV services, as well as business services over a separate national fibre-optic network.

The acquisition boosts Liberty Media's presence on the Dutch cable TV market. It already has a presence through its 74% stake in US company UnitedGlobalCom, which in turn owns 53% of United Pan-Europe Communications, Europe's largest cable TV company.

UPC is market leader in the Netherlands with around 2.3 million cable subscribers.

Liberty Media expects the takeover, which is subject to regulatory approval, to close in the fourth quarter of this year, while France Télécom said it expects to close the deal by the end of October.

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