Vodafone Lines Up £9bn Kabel Deutschland Deal
Mobile phone giant Vodafone is poised to buy Germany's biggest cable operator in a deal worth £9.1bn, it has been confirmed.
The addition of Kabel Deutschland's 8.5 million connected households would leave Vodafone with 32.4 million mobile, 5 million broadband and 7.6 million direct TV customers in 13 of Germany's 16 states.
Kabel Deutschland was "an attractive platform for TV and fixed broadband in Germany and creates a leading integrated operator with pro forma revenues of approximately 11.5 billion euros," Vodafone said in a statement.
The latest offer, which has been backed by Kabel Deutschland's management and supervisory boards, has a total value of £9.1bn when including £2.5bn of debt.
The acquisition, however, could still be derailed by rival interest from US media group Liberty Global. However, James Maughan, head of research at Olivetree Financial told Jeff Randall Live†that Libert does not represent a huge threat:
"Vodafone know that Liberty is tied up with the Virgin Media deal and are not really in a position to do another one, to offer the all-cash deal that Vodafone can make available."
Vodafone's proposal is worth 87 euros (£74) a share and is thought to better an earlier rival bid from Liberty, owner of Virgin Media, at 85 euros (£72) a share.
The British company has been expanding its presence in Germany recently, announcing a tie-up with Deutsche Telekom to offer pay-TV over high-speed broadband to its customers.
Germany has been one of Vodafone's better-performing markets in Europe, while its Mediterranean region has been hit hard during the downturn.
Chief executive Vittorio Colao said: "German consumer and business demand for fast broadband and data services continues to grow substantially.
"As customers increasingly access TV, fixed and mobile broadband services from multiple devices in the home and workplace, and on the move."
Early trading in London saw shares in Vodafone rise 1.18% before easing to 0.8%, meanwhile Kabel Deutschland shares in Frankfurt added 1.7%.