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Malone Nears Belgian Wireless Approval

John Malone’s Liberty Global subsidiary Telenet is close to receiving European Union regulatory approval of its planned $1.4 billion purchase of Belgian wireless carrier Base Co. NV, according to reports.

Liberty first announced its intention to purchase Base in April. Base is the third largest wireless carrier in Belgium and is the first purchase of wireless assets in the country for Telenet, which had concentrated on MVNO agreements previously.

According to a Reuters report, Telenet has agreed to sell customers from its JIM Mobile brand and its 50% stake in Mobile Viking to rival wireless carrier Medialaan. The idea is to help the fledgling carrier become a more established MVNO carrier using Base’s network. The European Commission is expected to brief national competition authorities on the deal today (Jan. 21) and is expected to approive the deal ahead of its official March 17 deadline, Reuters added.

Telenet is the largest cable operator in Belgium with about 2.1 million customers and has been an active player in Belgium’s mobile market through an MVNO since 2006, and has about 977,000 mobile subscribers, compared to  3.3 million for Base.

Previously, Telenet said it expects to spend about $258 million to upgrade Base’s mobile network and support systems and to integrate its operations over the next few years.