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Sky Cable acquires Destiny Cable, Solid Broadband means BUSINESS

MANILA, Philippines - Sky Cable Corp. firmed up its hold over the cable TV industry with the acquisition of rival Destiny Cable Inc.

Besides the cable TV business, the Lim-owned Solid Group Inc. also sold its broadband Internet assets under Solid Broadband Corp. and its direct-to-home (DTH) pay-TV unit in Cebu, Uni-Cable TV Inc., to Sky Cable, which also offers broadband Internet under the Sky Broadband brand.

Before the acquisition of the Solid Group's pay-TV and broadband assets, Sky Cable already had a subscriber base of 500,000. Destiny's subscribers numbered 200,000 at end-December 2010.

Rodrigo Montinola, Sky Cable chief operating officer, said the transaction is worth at least P3 billion.

David Lim, president of Destiny Cable, Solid Broadband and Uni-Cable, said the sale was meant to improve the service to customers of Destiny Cable and MyDestiny broadband Internet.

“We are gratified by the loyalty of our Destiny Cable subscribers and MyDestiny broadband subscribers all these years…However, we realized that this will entail resources, for digitizing our cable network and expanding our broadband services that we do not have.  We believe our agreement with Sky will allow subscribers to enjoy the benefits of the latest technologies,” Lim said.

“The pay TV and broadband markets require continuous significant investments, if we are to keep up with our major competitors, particularly DTH and telco companies,” he added.

Apart from Sky Cable, other players in the pay-TV market are Cignal of the PLDT group and Dream Satellite TV operator Philippine Multi-Media System Inc. of one-time PLDT owner, Antonio 'Tonyboy' Cojuangco.

With the sale of its pay-TV and broadband Internet assets to Lopez-owned Sky Cable, the Solid Group said it can "focus on our other core businesses," particularly its mobile phone brand MyPhone.

Montinola said the acquisition will not result in higher rates for Destiny subscribers.

“As we plan these out, we will take extra care not to disrupt the existing services of the current subscribers. They will continue to pay same monthly fees for their subscribed plans, at the same payment centers, and can continue to reach customer service at the same numbers," he said.