Bidders line up for Kabel BW

Potential buyers are lining up for Germany’s Kabel BW. Apart from fellow cablers Unitymedia and Kabel Deutschland, a number of private equity firms are reported interested in buying the operator that serves 2.3 million homes in the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Kabel BW’s current owner, Swedish private equity firm EQT, is preparing a sale of the operator, either via an IPO or a direct sale with the help of JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank. The network should bring in between €2.5 and 3 billion. Four years ago, EQT bought the cabler from Blackstone for €1.3 billion.

A sale to Liberty Global’s Unitymedia or Kabel Deutschland would signal further consolidation of the German cable market, but it seems uncertain if the German regulators will allow such an acquisiton by either of the operators.

All three networks, Unitymedia, Kabel BW and Kabel Deutschland, used to form the national cable network owned by Deutsche Telekom. In 2002 John Malone’s Liberty Media tried to acquire all assets for €5.5 billion, but the deal was vetoed by the Bundeskartelamt.