FCO requests transfer of probe into Liberty’s Kabel BW deal

19 May 2011

Germany’s anti-trust body the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has submitted an application to the European Commission (EC) requesting jurisdiction over the probe into Liberty Global’s planned acquisition of German cable operator Kabel BW, writes RapidTVNews. The report cites FCO spokesperson Kay Weidner as saying that the takeover was registered at the EC because of its turnover volume, independent of its actual impact on competition. The FCO argues that because the deal would mainly affect competition in Germany, the probe should be transferred to the local anti-trust authority. The EC will now decide whether the case should remain with Brussels or be moved to Germany. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, US cable company Liberty Global emerged as the highest bidder to acquire Kabel BW from Swedish investment firm EQT in March 2011, beating bids from CVC and Hallman & Friedman with an offer of EUR3.16 billion (USD4.5 billion). There may be significant anti-trust hurdles facing Liberty Global’s bid, as the US company already owns Germany’s second largest cableco by subscribers, Unitymedia.

Germany, Kabel BW, Liberty Global (incl. LGI)