The telecommunications market in Serbia is gradually consolidating, as SBB (Srpske Kablovske Mreze), the leading digital and analog cable TV, broadband internet and landline phone system operator in Serbia, has signed a contract on the purchase of 100% of IKOM (Interaktivne Kablovske Objedinjene Mreze)
Jovana Lukic, the spokesperson of SBB, said on the occasion that SBB was continuing to expand its operations and its user network and added that the consolidation of operators was a logical step forward and a worldwide trend. According to her, the request for the clearance of the transaction had been submitted to the Commission for Protection of Competition in line with the usual regulations.
– Due to the size and connectivity in the entire region, as well as further investments of the United Group in the network and services, the IKOM users will have access to the latest technologies and content as well – Lukic stated.
If the Commission determines that there is no danger of acquiring the dominant market position, SBB will become one of the biggest telecommunications operators in Southeast Europe.
As reported by certain media, this purchase was being prepared for a long time and is a part of the long-term strategy of the American equity firm KKR, which bought SBB in 2013 for over EUR 1 billion. Allegedly, KKR wishes to turn Belgrade into its telecommunications and digital center in Southeast Europe, and, in order to do that, they intend to buy all the relevant companies they can. IKOM offers cable internet, in addition to its basic and digital cable TV package, but also the landline phone connection, which, allegedly, makes it interesting to KKR’s management and its owner, David Petraeus.At least a month till the approval by the Commission for Protection of Competition
The Commission for Protection of Competition has confirmed for eKapija that SBB submitted the registration of the concentration arising from the acquisition of the IKOM business entity on September 13. The Law on Protection of Competition prescribes that the Commission has two options in such cases – a summary approval procedure or investigating the concentration in the official capacity.
The deadline period for reaching the decision in the summary procedure is 30 days (Article 65) starting from the date of submission. If it gets determined during the procedure that the joint market share of the participants in the concentration in the market of the Republic of Serbia is at least 40%, that is, if there is a justifiable assumption that the concentration doesn’t meet the requirements prescribed in the Article 19 of the law, as well as in case of another concentration not approved in line with the law, the Commission initiates the concentration investigation procedure in the official capacity.