Reports: German cable co. in acquisition talks

AP News
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Posted: Mar 18, 2011 6:31 PM

Germany's third-largest cable television company could be acquired soon, according to several media reports. A report from The Wall Street Journal late Friday said John Malone's Liberty Global Inc. is likely the front runner.

Liberty Global is seeking to buy Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg GmbH for about $4.5 billion, according to the Journal. Liberty Global, which operates broadband networks primarily in Europe, already owns Unitymedia, Germany's second-largest cable company. Kabel Deutschland GmbH is the biggest cable TV company in the country.

A deal could be made over the weekend, the Journal reported.

Kabel BW's owner, the Swedish private-equity firm EQT, has been considering a sale or an initial public offering for the cable company, according to the Journal. According to EQT's website, Kabel BW has more than 2.3 million subscribers.

Earlier in the day, Reuters reported that Luxembourg-based private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners had submitted a higher offer than Liberty Global and another private equity group, Hellman & Friedman. Hellman & Friedman has offices in San Francisco, New York and London.

Spokespeople for EQT, CVC, Hellman & Friedman and Englewood, Colo.-based Liberty Global did not immediately return messages seeking comment.