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ICT ministry confirms conditional approval of SK Broadband-t-broad merger

All News 14:50 January 21, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- The merger between SK Broadband Inc., a subsidiary of South Korea's top mobile carrier, SK Telecom Co., and No. 2 cable TV operator t-broad Co. 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 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 (KCC) gave the merger deal its conditional approval regarding broadcasting laws.

This image shows the corporate logo of SK Broadband Inc. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

It wraps up an eight-month review of the merger deal requested by SK Telecom and Taekwang Industrial Co., 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.

The latest tie-up reshapes the pay TV landscape in South Korea into a three-horse race led by homegrown telecommunication firms.

This image shows the corporate logo of t-broad Co. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

With KT Corp. leading the market with a 31.1 percent share, LG Uplus Corp., the country's third largest mobile carrier, became the No. 2 player in the local paid TV market with a 24.5 percent share after acquiring the country's top cable TV operator, CJ Hello Co., last month.

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 Co., Central Multi Broadcasting (CMB) Co. and Hyundai HCN Co. -- to bulk themselves up in the pay TV market.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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