Japan’s second-largest cellular provider, KDDI, has made an offer to buy Liberty Global’s 38 percent stake in Jupiter Communications (aka J:Com) for about $4 billion. The purchase would give KDDI controlling interest in J:Com.
The move gets KDDI further entrenched in the cable business. In 2007, the company purchased Japan CableNet, considered to be the second-largest cable operator in Japan. CableNet operates systems in and around Tokyo.
The acquisition would give KDDI about half the cable market in Japan.
In addition to mobile telephony and its beefed-up cable holdings, KDDI has a limited fixed-wire network that’s largely fiber-based. It is also dabbling in WiMAX.
Japan is one of the more competitive communications markets in the world, with a citizenry that includes some of the most enthusiastic adopters of new communications services.
Both CableNet and Jupiter Communications have been big contributors to that – like their rivals, they have been among the first in the world to offer much higher connection speeds at much lower prices than elsewhere in the world. To do that, both cable companies have frequently been among the first to adopt new technologies, including DOCSIS 3.0.
While the focus has been on KDDI positioning itself against NTT, the purchase will also give John Malone’s Liberty Global a huge bundle of money. Malone has never sat on a bundle of money that big for long.