LG Uplus aims to buy control of CJ Hellovision

18 Feb 2019

South Korea's smallest operator LG Uplus has revealed plans to acquire a controlling stake in pay TV broadcaster CJ Hellovision in a deal worth 800 billion won ($710.3 million).

The operator’s board has approved the proposed acquisition of a 50% plus one share stake in CJ Hellovision from its holding company parent CJ ENM, the Korea Heraldreported.

If it goes through, the acquisition will make LG Uplus the nation's second largest pay TV operator after KT Skylife.

The combined LG Uplus-CJ Hellovision would have a market share of around 24.4%, compared to 31% for KT Skylife and 14.1% for SK Broadband - a subsidiary of SK Telecom.

But the merger still requires the approval of Korean competition regulator the Fair Trade Commission, which had blocked an attempt by SK Telecom to acquire CJ Hellovision in 2016 on competition grounds.

Notably, LG Uplus was a fierce opponent of the abandoned SK Telecom – CJ Hellovision merger, having urged the government to block the proposed deal on the ground that it is “illegal” and an attempt by SK Telecom to further entrench its dominant market position.

In making its decision, the commission had determined that the merger would have an undue impact on competition in both the pay TV and telecoms markets.

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