Liberty’s Kabel BW deal challenged by DT, NetCologne

1 Feb 2012

Germany’s incumbent telecoms company Deutsche Telekom (DT) and regional operator NetCologne are reportedly seeking to challenge the Federal Cartel Office’s decision to approve the acquisition of cable network operator Kabel BW by US firm Liberty Global, Dow Jones Newswires writes, citing a report by local newspaper Boersen-Zeitung. According to the report, the German antitrust authority confirmed that the companies have filed a complaint at a higher regional court, adding that DT has said it will challenge the deal, saying the conditions accepted by the regulator are not sufficient to ensure a competitive market.

As reported by CommsUpdate, Liberty Global emerged as the highest bidder to acquire Kabel BW from Swedish investment firm EQT in March 2011, with an offer of EUR3.16 billion (USD4.1 billion). The US company’s acquisition of Germany’s third largest cableco by subscribers was cleared by the Federal Cartel Office in December 2011, subject to certain conditions and obligations. As Liberty Global already owns Germany’s second largest cableco Unitymedia, the company was required to offer a series of concessions in order to smooth the way for approval of the Kabel BW deal, including granting housing associations the right to terminate longer-term retail TV contracts held with Unitymedia and Kabel BW.

Germany, Deutsche Telekom (DT), Kabel BW, Liberty Global (incl. LGI), NetCologne, Unitymedia