Orange looks to add fixed line assets in Belgium with VOO deal

Orange revealed its Belgian subsidiary has entered into exclusive talks to purchase a majority stake in cable operator VOO from Nethys, as part of a bid to strengthen its convergence strategy in the country.

On the table is a deal which values VOO at €1.8 billion (approximately $2 billion) and would see Orange Belgium acquire a 75% share of the company. That means Orange Belgium would end up paying around €1.35 billion if the deal goes through, a sum it plans to finance by increasing its debt with support from its parent company Orange SA.

Additional details about the transaction will be released once the deal is signed, Orange said.

Founded in 2006, VOO offers a mix of broadband, TV and voice services, covering Wallonia in the southern part of Belgium as well as part of Brussels. Orange, meanwhile, currently has more than 3 million customers in the Belgian market.

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The move to pick up cable assets is part of Orange’s strategy to become a “convergent” fixed and mobile operator in markets across Europe. In September, it wrapped a deal to acquire a 54% stake in Telekom Romania Communications, securing itself fixed assets in that country.

Its selection to take part in exclusive negotiations for VOO marks a win for Orange, as rival Telenet also expressed interest in buying the company. Telenet said in a statement it “regrets” Nethys’ decision to pursue talks solely with Orange, adding it will “assess the decision and consider its further options.”

Nethys previously attempted to sell VOO to investment group Providence Equity in 2019, but a Belgian court put the kibosh on that deal last year following a protest from Orange Belgium over its fairness.