German cable operator Kabel Deutschland has entered into an agreement to acquire indebted regional player Tele Columbus for EUR603 million (USD769.6 million) plus accrued interest. The overall purchase price – equivalent to EUR618 million as of 31 December 2011 – will provide for repayment in full of the financial debt of Tele Columbus, which provides cable services to approximately 1.7 million customers predominantly in Berlin and in Eastern Germany, including the cities of Dresden, Magdeburg and Potsdam. Following a successful closing of the acquisition, which is subject to the approval of the Federal Cartel Office, most of Tele Columbus’s customers will be able to subscribe to Kabel Deutschland’s high speed internet products and new TV services for the first time, which according to Kabel Deutschland will help to strengthen the existing broadband infrastructure competition in Germany.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that roughly 100 creditors of Tele Columbus, including York Capital, Alcentra, GoldenTree Asset Management and the Bank of Ireland, took over the firm from Orion Cable (a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based investors Escaline) in a debt-for-equity swap in December 2009. Earlier this year, Tele Columbus’s owners hired Rothschild to organise the sale of the struggling cableco, reportedly attracting interest from the likes of Deutsche Telekom and US firm Liberty Global Inc (LGI).