Liberty Global is out of the race for German cable operator Kabel Deutschland, after its EUR85 per share offer was topped by Vodafone Group last month, the US company’s chairman John Malone told Bloomberg. ‘Unfortunately the Vodafone guys have preempted us in trying to consolidate the rest of Germany,’ Malone said in a phone interview, adding: ‘We wish Vodafone good luck. We’re hoping they’ll be a good fellow traveler in the cable business.’ The businessman said that with consolidation opportunities now limited in northern Europe, Liberty will look to the south of the continent for opportunities when the economy there starts recovering. Liberty Global already owns Germany’s second largest cableco, Unitymedia KabelBW, which was formed last year from the consolidation of Unitymedia and Kabel BW; the US firm had originally purchased the two companies in early 2010 and late 2011, respectively.
Vodafone Group plans to finalise its EUR7.7 billion takeover of KDG after the German cableco’s shareholder meeting in October, pending antitrust approval. The British firm offered shareholders a total value of EUR87 in cash per share, which includes payment of a EUR2.50 dividend announced by KDG earlier this year. According to Vodafone, the combination of its German unit with KDG, which has a network serving around 8.5 million households in 13 out of 16 states, would create a telecoms operator with 32.4 million mobile, 5.0 million fixed broadband and 7.6 million direct TV customers.