Liberty Global To Acquire German Operator


Liberty Global said Monday that it has reached an agreement to acquire third largest German cable operator KBW in a deal valued at $4.48 billion.
Liberty already owns the second largest German cable company - Unitymedia with 4.6 million subscribers - and the addition of KBW's 2.4 million customers will narrow the gap with Kabel Deutschland, the largest German MSO with 8.8 million customers.
KBW, owned by Swedish private equity firm EQT, went on the block last year. Bidders for the properties included Kabel Deutschland and private equity giant CVC Capital Partners. According to a Reuters report, CVC Capital Partners originally had the highest bid, but Liberty lobbed in a higher offer over the weekend which CVC declined to better.
The price works out to be about 8.1 times KBW's estimated 2011 cash flow, making the valuations on par with some recent private cable deals in the United States, including Cablevision Systems' $1.4 billion acquisition of Bresnan Communications.
"This transaction provides us with further access to one of the fastest-growing cable markets in Europe and is fully aligned with our strategy of acquiring world class cable operations that are accretive from a value and growth perspective," Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said in a statement."
The transaction, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the second half of 2011.