Vodafone on verge of buying major German cable operator

MOBILE phone giant Vodafone was today poised to buy Germany’s biggest cable operator in a deal worth £9.1bn.

The acquisition, which could still be derailed by rival interest from US media group Liberty Global, will boost Vodafone’s ability to offer consumers bundled packages of telecoms, broadband and television services.

The addition of Kabel Deutschland’s 8.5 million connected households would leave Vodafone with 32.4 million mobile, five million broadband and 7.6 million direct TV customers in Germany.

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Today’s 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.

Vodafone’s proposal is worth 87 euro (£74) a share and is thought to better an earlier rival bid from Liberty, owner of Virgin Media, at 85 euro (£72) a share.

Operators are increasingly attracted to the ‘’quad play’’ business model, in which customers are able to subscribe to a package including TV, internet, landline and mobile services.

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.

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.”