Liberty Loses Out . Twice1/28/2003 7:21 AM Eastern
Two European cable properties that slipped away from Liberty Media Corp. last
year have found new buyers, but at considerably lower prices.
Deutsche Telekom AG., the German telephone giant, agreed Tuesday to sell its
cable operations with about 3 million subscribers to a group of private-equity
investors -- Apax Partners, Providence Equity Partners Inc. and Goldman Sachs
Capital Partners, the private equity arm of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. -- for
$1.86 billion in cash.
That price was considerably lower than what Liberty had agreed to pay for the
properties last year -- about $5.95 billion -- before the deal was blocked twice
by German regulators.
DT -- which has been selling assets to pare down a $69 billion debt -- could
receive as much as $405 million more from the three buyers, depending on the
value of the cable systems in the future, DT said in a prepared statement.
Further details were not available.
This is the second European cable deal that slipped by Liberty. In November,
its $735 million deal to buy Dutch cable operator Casema from France Telecom was
scuttled by regulators in that country due to anti-competitive issues.
Liberty, through its holdings in UnitedGlobalCom Inc., controls the largest
Dutch cable company, United Pan-European Communications N.V. (UPC).
France Telecom agreed to sell Casema to Providence Equity, The Carlyle Group
and GMT Communications Partners Ltd. for about $720 million in cash. That deal
was completed Tuesday.