Kabel Deutschland to Buy Tele Columbus for EU603 Million

Kabel Deutschland Holding AG agreed to acquire Tele Columbus Group, the German cable television provider owned by creditors after restructuring its debt, for 603 million euros ($770 million) plus accrued interest to expand coverage of the country’s pay-television households.

The purchase price will provide full repayment of Tele Columbus’s debt, Unterfoehring, Germany-based Kabel Deutschland said in a statement today. The transaction is subject to antitrust approval in the country.

Tele Columbus would give Kabel Deutschland, Germany’s biggest cable company, about 1.7 million customers. Kabel Deutschland had tried to take over Berlin-based Tele Columbus in 2007, people familiar with the situation said at the time. Germany is set to grow faster than any other cable market in Europe as fewer people in the country use digital and pay-TV technologies, Guy Bisson, an analyst at IHS Screen Digest, said last month.

“Following a successful closing of the acquisition, most of Tele Columbus’s customers will be able for the first time to subscribe to Kabel Deutschland’s high-speed Internet products and new TV services,” Kabel Deutschland said. “The transaction will strengthen the existing broadband infrastructure competition in Germany.”

Kabel Deutschland fell 2 euro cents to 46.16 euros at 9:47 a.m. in Frankfurt, paring the advance this year to 18 percent.

Cable Deals

Tele Columbus, which operates predominantly in Berlin and Eastern Germany, also attracted interest from Deutsche Telekom AG and Unitymedia GmbH, owned by John Malone’s Liberty Global Inc., people familiar with the process said last month. Smaller competitor PrimaCom Berlin GmbH, with service to 1 million households, is also for sale, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private.

European cable and satellite television companies have been targeted for $3.27 billion in deals in the past 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The largest was the $2.66 billion private equity takeover of Swedish television company Com Hem AB announced in July by BC Partners. The average deal size was $1.09 billion, according to the data.

Ziggo NV, the Dutch cable company owned by Warburg Pincus LLC and Cinven Ltd., raised 804 million euros in an initial public offering in March.

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