Regulator green-lights SK Broadband merger

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Regulator green-lights SK Broadband merger

The merger between SK Broadband, a subsidiary of Korea’s top mobile carrier, SK Telecom, and No. 2 cable TV operator t-broad received a green light as the country’s ICT Ministry on Tuesday confirmed its original ruling of granting conditional approval to the combination.

The Ministry of Science and ICT upheld its decision from December, which gave approval to the deal on the condition that the merged company comply with fair business practices and keep employment stable.

The ministry’s latest decision comes one day after the Korea Communications Commission gave the merger deal its conditional approval regarding broadcasting laws.

It wraps up an eight-month review of the merger deal requested by SK Telecom and Taekwang Industrial, the parent firm of t-broad, in May 2019.

Under the deal, SK Telecom’s shares in the merged company will stand at a commanding 74.4 percent, with Taekwang serving as the second-largest shareholder at 16.8 percent.

SK Telecom said the merged entity will be officially established in April.

It is estimated the merged entity, to be controlled by SK Telecom, will take a 23.9 percent share of the pay TV market.

Industry insiders expected that local telecom firms will try to acquire other major cable TV operators - D’Live, Central Multi Broadcasting and Hyundai HCN - to bulk themselves up in the pay TV market.

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