Cable company NTL is entering the Irish market with Dublin's approval of its IR£535.2 million (£448.6 million) bid for provider Cablelink.
NTL claimed last week that the acquisition, expected to take place in the second quarter of this year, will make it the largest cable provider to operate in the UK and Ireland. Efat of Ireland had also bid but lost, then lost an appeal to the government.
The deal followed Microsoft's announcement the previous week that it would take a 29.9% share in NTL's main competitor, Telewest. Microsoft also owns 5% of NTL.
An NTL spokesman said recent moves in the UK and US demonstrate that cable is the future of mass communication. He predicted consolidation in the market would continue but that NTL would "always have a significant input".
When asked about Microsoft's interest in both Telewest and NTL, he did not rule out a future merger with Telewest.
Cablelink has exclusive rights for five years over its base of 360,000 customers, as well as full Internet and telephony licences for Ireland.
NTL has already heavily invested in cable access to Northern Ireland.
NTL has also announced the acquisition of 1G Networks from France Telecom for FF350 million (£35.3 million).
1G Networks provides multi-channel TV services in greater Paris, Toulon and France's southern coast.
NTL tunes into Irish cable market.
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