Prysmian Is Said to Be Among Potential General Cable Bidders

Updated on
  • General Cable started review of strategic alternatives in July
  • Prysmian is also said to look at Nokia’s submarine cable unit

Prysmian SpA, the world’s largest cable maker, is among companies exploring a bid for General Cable Corp. of the U.S., according to people with knowledge of the matter, in a deal that would allow the Italian manufacturer to boost its market share amid consolidation.

Prysmian is working with financial advisers, said the people, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Milan-based Prysmian, which also considered a bid for General Cable more than two years ago, may still decide not to proceed with an offer, the people said.

General Cable, which has a market value of $938 million, said in July it was reviewing strategic alternatives including a potential sale because it expects companies in the industry to combine. The company has since begun a formal sale process and is allowing Prysmian and other potential bidders to review financial data, one of the people said.

By acquiring General Cable, which makes products for power-transmission operators, industrial manufacturers and communications companies, Prysmian would increase its market share in North America and widen its lead over rivals including France’s Nexans SA.

“According to our policy, we never comment on market speculation,” a spokesman for Prysmian said by phone. Representatives of Highland Heights, Kentucky-based General Cable didn’t reply to calls seeking comment.

General Cable shares jumped 2.4 percent to $19.30 at 9:35 a.m. in New York. Prysmian rose 1.6 percent to 29.03 euros, giving the company a market value of 6.3 billion euros ($7.4 billion).

Consolidation of the industry gained momentum this year with NKT A/S’s 836 million-euro acquisition of ABB’s high-voltage cable business. Still, the world’s 10 largest producers of wires and cable by revenue account for just 26 percent of the global market, according to an NKT presentation last month.

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