German broadband provider United Internet says it has become the largest shareholder of cable network operator Tele Columbus, after securing the acquisition of approximately 15.31% of shares in the firm via subsidiary United Internet Ventures. If the transaction is approved by local anti-trust authority the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), United Internet would have a total indirect shareholding of 25.11% in Tele Columbus. United Internet reiterated that it does not, however, currently intend to acquire an equity stake of 30% or more in Tele Columbus – a threshold which would oblige it to submit a mandatory bid to all other shareholders of the cableco – nor to make a voluntary takeover bid. Commenting on the development, United Internet’s CEO Ralph Dommermuth said: ‘We know Tele Columbus and its CEO Ronny Verhelst and value his successful management of the company. As a strategic investor, we plan to accompany the ongoing development of Tele Columbus and benefit from its growth in value.’
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that United Internet is Germany’s third largest fixed broadband provider by subscribers, with a customer base of 4.27 million at the end of September 2015 (representing a market share of 14.1%), while Tele Columbus had a total of 363,000 broadband users, giving it a 1.2% share of the sector.