Kabel Deutschland shares spike on Liberty rumour

Shares in Kabel Deutschland rose sharply yesterday on reports that Liberty Global may be preparing a bid for the leading German cable operator.

According to business title Manager Magazin, Liberty Global aims to pre-empt Vodafone, which has reportedly been interested in acquiring the operator.

While a bid for KDG would attract the attention of the German Federal competition regulator, the Bundeskartellamt, the magazine reports that Liberty Global management may have taken hope from the regulator’s decision to block KDG’s acquisition of Tele Columbus. The independence of Tele Columbus, it could be argued, will continue to provide competition in the cable market.

However, the Bundeskartellamt has in the past shown itself to be unfavourable to a nationwide consolidation of the sector. Liberty Global’s own acquisition of Kabel BW in 2011 only after it made concessions including offering to provide full unencrypted digital free-to-air TV services across the territories in which Unitymedia, as well as Kabel BW, operated.

Vodafone reportedly put its initial plan to bid for KDG on ice in February after news of the move leaked to the press.
KDG’s shares stood at €72.68 (US$95.47), up 2.4% by late afternoon yesterday.

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