Liberty Global has effectively encouraged Vodafone to consider taking over its German cable business, arguing that the competition watchdogs would probably not oppose such a deal which would enable Vodafone to create a nationwide German cable giant through the merger of its subsidiary Kabel Deutschland with Liberty Global’s Unitymedia Kabel BW.
“I think they would approve it,” Liberty Global’s Co-CFO Charles Bracken told a small group of attendees with reference to the regulators after an investor presentation in Barcelona, reports Bloomberg. If Vodafone were to make an offer, it would be up to Liberty Global’s chairman John Malone to decide whether he wants to sell, he added.
Kabel Deutschland is Germany’s largest cable operator, serving 8.3 million households in 13 federal states. Unitymedia Kabel BW, the second-largest market player, serves 7.1 million households across three federal states.
“We got a good thing going here, we reckon we can drive this thing with a reasonably high share,” Bracken said, referring to Liberty Global’s European business. “On that basis there is no reason to abandon ship, but it’s up to John.”
In September 2014, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said Liberty Global could be a good fit for the mobile network operator “for the right price”.
Liberty Global has a market value of around $35 billion compared with $95 billion for Vodafone.