Telecolumbus, the German cable television business owned by Deutsche Bank, is the subject of competing bids from two private equity groups, with a decision expected within a fortnight.
BC Partners, long tipped as a likely buyer for the unit, has joined forces with GMT Partners and Veronis Suhler Stevenson, whilst Apollo Management is bidding alone. A consortium of Apax Partners, Providence Equity and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners failed to make the final round.
The two remaining bidders for Telecolumbus are expected to value the company at around E530m, well above the E450m to E500m range originally reported. Deutsche Bank paid E720m for the business in 1999.
According to a report on Reuters, Apollo plans to merge Telecolumbus with German cable operator iesy Hessen, the former cable business of Deutsche Telekom that is based in Hesse.
Reports in Germany have also suggested that BC Partners and Apax have agreed a cooperation strategy if BC Partners is successful with its offer. BC Partners has so far been unavailable for comment.
The German cable TV market has been a busy sector for private equity firms in 2003. In addition the Apax-led consortium's acquisition of Deutsche Telekom's cable assets in January, Permira announced that it had finalised plans to buy German pay-TV channel Premiere for around E220m in February.