Germany's Federal Cartel Office in Bonn has announced that it will not approve Deutsche Telekom’s proposed E5.5bn sale of its cable TV operations to Liberty Media. Deutsche Telekom has asked Rothschild to seek other bidders for the cable disposal.
Deutsche Telekom had hoped that the sale of the business to Liberty Media would satisfy the regulatory authorities whilst helping to reduce the company’s debt pile, currently valued at E65bn. The decision to block the sale opens the door to rival bidders for the company’s cable assets, with UK private equity firm Compere Associates set to lead the way.
Earlier this month, John Moreland-Lynn, a managing director at Compere Associates, commented that DT's asking price of E5.5bn was ‘a fair one’. It is anticipated that Compere will make a renewed bid for Deutsche’s six cable television networks, although as yet the company has declined to comment on the latest developments.
Commenting on the announcement, a Deutsche Telekom spokesperson said: “We regret the decision of the Federal Cartel Office. We considered that the sale of the cable TV network to Liberty Media would act as a clear stimulus to competition. Leading competition experts had also spoken out in public calling for the project to be approved.”