Liberty Won't Go Dutch

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Liberty Media Corp. has scrapped plans to buy Dutch cable operator Casema from France Telecom SA, the company said in a statement Monday.

Liberty had offered to buy Casema for $756 million in August. However, since then, Dutch regulators expressed concern about the deal.

Liberty said it had terminated the deal. The company added that since the deal had not been closed by Oct. 31, both parties have had the right to walk away since Nov. 1.

"Liberty Media and France Telecom have held discussions since the Oct. 31 termination date. However, the parties were unable to come to terms on a new agreement that were acceptable to Liberty Media," Liberty said.

Liberty had hoped to link Casema's 1.3 million cable subscribers with its own United Pan European Communications N.V. (UPC) cable customers.

Although Liberty has said it would not combine Casema with UPC -- the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, with about 2.5 million subscribers -- the company has told Dutch regulators it wouldn't exclude closer cooperation between the two companies.

Dutch regulators had been concerned that the deal -- which would have given Liberty control of 60 percent of the Dutch cable market -- would be anti-competitive.

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