KCC Gives Conditional Approval for SK Broadband, T-broad merger

The Korea Communications Commission issued a conditional approval to SK Broadband's merger with T-broad.

The Korea Communications Commission (KCC), on Monday, announced after its meeting that it issued a conditional approval to SK Broadband’s merger with cable TV operator, T-broad.

The wholly-owned subsidiary of South Korea’s top mobile carrier, SK Telecom Co. merger with the country’s second-largest cable TV operator, received conditional approval from the media regulation agency under 14 conditions and three suggestions, requiring the company to serve the public interest and protect user’s rights.

The commission will hand over the results of its review to the ICT Ministry. Industry officials expect the ministry to issue a final approval within one to two weeks from now.

On December 30 of last year, the ICT Ministry also gave conditional approval for SK Broadband and T-broad’s merger pushing to upgrade the country’s telecom and broadcasting sector.

According to Hong Jin-bae, director-general of the ministry’s network and telecommunication policy office, the ICT Ministry gave the approval under the condition that the merged entity will not discriminate against existing and new customers, and will not engage in an unfair or unlawful practices.

SK Broadband and T-broad announced in May of last year their intention for a tie-up seeking regulatory permission from the agency. The approval would pave the way for SK Telecom to create connections to the local media business.

The parent company of SK Broadband, SK Telecom, aims to complete the merger by April 1 this year. The company will have to report to the Financial Supervisory Service after receiving the final approval from the ICT Ministry. The company will also hold board meetings before the completion of financial transactions.

The merger is valued at 4.7 trillion won ($4 billion). After the merger, SK Broadband expects the merged company to provide service to a combined 8 million subscribers and acquire a stake of around 24 percent of the pay-tv market in South Korea.

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