Apax, Apollo linked to DT cable deal

John Malone's Liberty Media is looking to syndicate a bid for Deutsche Telekom's cable TV companies with the private equity firms' help.

Liberty Media, the US investment group headed by John Malone that has invested heavily in buying and building cable assets, is reported to have  approached private equity groups to help finance a bid for the cable television assets of Deutsche Telekom [DT].

DT has indicated that it wants to sell its remaining six regional cable companies to financial buyers after Liberty's original E5.5bn bid was blocked by the German competition authorities. The deadline for bids is 24 July.

A syndicated bid is thought to give Liberty more latitude to raise the necessary  financing as well as being more palatable to the competition authorities. The Financial Times reports that Liberty is in discussion with a number of private equity firms but that Apax Partners and Apollo Management are considered the most suitable partners.

DT is under close scrutiny at present with rumours abounding that the German government has been looking to remove DT's CEO Ron Sommer as the company's share price flouders. The firm has also undertaken to reduce its debt by over E17bn by the end of 2003 to a still sizeable E50bn. A key part of this undertaking is to sell off selected assets such as its regional cable TV operations.