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SES Astra Acquires 75.2% Stake In DPC

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Munich (SPX) Jun 29, 2004
SES Astra, an SES Global company has entered into a binding agreement to acquire a 75.2% stake in DPC (Digital Playout Center) from German Pay-TV operator Premiere. The transaction, for a consideration of EUR 41.2 million, is subject to approval by competition authorities.

DPC (Digital Playout Center) operates a teleport facility in Munich and offers services comprising play-out, multiplexing, encryption and satellite uplinks to private as well as public broadcasters.

Under SES Astra's helmsmanship, DPC will diversify its service offering by launching Germany's first and only "open" Pay-TV platform using Premiere compatible digital set top boxes.

Dr.Georg Kofler, President and CEO of Premiere, explains: "SES Astra and Premiere have concluded an agreement which will allow DPC to offer a wide range of services on a neutral basis. We are convinced that DPC under SES Astra Management will be in an ideal position to grow its business and to establish itself as the leading value-added service provider in the fast developing digital market."

Ferdin and Kayser, President and CEO of SES Astra, concurs: "With this transaction, SES Astra is extending its position in the value chain and broadening the scope of its service portfolio with the provision of encryption services."

"DPC will offer its state-of-the-art services to customers on a non-discriminatory and neutral basis. We are convinced that the creation of the ASTRA/DPC "open" platform corresponds to a true market demand."

"Using Premiere compatible set top boxes, of which several dozen models from different manufacturers are readily available in the market place, German households wanting to enhance their TV line-up beyond the host of free-to-air channels on ASTRA can subscribe to the Pay-TV offer of their choice."

"DPC's extended service offering will ultimately enhance freedom of choice in the interest of the consumers and provide another overall boost to ASTRA DTH reception. It will also significantly speed up the uptake of digital and support the German government's proclaimed policy of switching off analogue broadcasts by 2010."

DPC,under its new ownership, will retain its corporate identity, name, Munich premises and headquarters, as well as the existing Management and staff. The company is being acquired debt-free and its results, which generated a turnover of EUR31.5 million in 2003,will be fully consolidated into the accounts of SES Astra's parent company SES Global.

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European HDTV Specifications And Timetable Agreed Upon
Betzdorf (SPX) Jun 23, 2004
"HDTV" label for display devices to be launched in collaboration with major industry partners SES Astra, an SES Global company, in a concerted effort with more than sixty of its European broadcast customers, hardware manufacturers and other industry partners, at their second European HDTV Forum session held on the 17th of June at SES Astra's headquarters in Luxembourg, have agreed on the technical aspects and the timetable for the introduction of HDTV (High Definition Television) services in Europe via the Astra Satellite System.