Several financial investors, including private equity firms Cinven Group and CVC Capital Partners, are in talks to buy indebted regional German cable operator Tele Columbus, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter. According to the sources, the interested parties are considering combining Tele Columbus with another regional cableco, PrimaCom, potentially signalling further consolidation in the German market. Without providing further details, Tele Columbus chief executive Ronny Verhelst said the company is in ‘well advanced talks with several potential acquirers,’ and that it hopes to conclude a sale by the end of the year.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, an attempt to sell Tele Columbus to Kabel Deutschland was blocked by the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) in February, after the antitrust watchdog determined that the EUR618 million (USD838 million) acquisition would have a negative impact on competition. Kabel Deutschland later withdrew an appeal against the Bundeskartellamt’s decision to block the purchase, stating that ‘pursuing a probably time-consuming court case no longer makes any sense,’ in light of its own takeover by the UK’s Vodafone Group.