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Liberty Global Acquires Polish Operator Aster

In a move to further strengthen its position in the Polish multichannel market, Liberty Global has acquired a 100% stake in the Polish cable operator Aster for PLN 870 million ($292 million) from funds owned by Mid Europa Partners and has assumed the company's net debt of PLN 1,530 million ($513 million), for a total purchase price of PLN 2,400 ($805 million).

Liberty Global is already a major operator in Poland and the acquisition of the fourth largest cable operator Aster will strengthen the company in Eastern Europe's largest multichannel market. Aster currently serves about 368,000 video customers and has about 70,000 fixed telephony subscribers.

"Our police operation has consistently been one of our best performers over the last several years" noted Mike Fries, president and CEO of Liberty Global in a statement. "This acquisition will enhance our market position and ensure that our superior network and next generation digital and broadband products are made available to Aster's customers. The Polish cable TV market is highly fragmented and this is a natural and necessary step towards consolidating the industry."

Liberty prices the deal at about 7.3 times Aster's estimated 2011 earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization if the estimated synergies from combining the operation are realized. The deal, which is subject to approval by Polish regulators, is expected to close in the first half of 2011.