German telco Deutsche Telekom would oppose the sale of Liberty Global’s German cable subsidiary Unitymedia to Vodafone and calls for regulators to block any such deal.
The move would enable Vodafone to create a nationwide cable network out of the Kabel Deutschland assets it bought in 2013 and Unitymedia. Regulators should block such a tie-up because it would create a “monopoly” in parts of the domestic TV market, Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Tim Höttges said during an earnings call with analysts following the presentation of the company’s 2017 results, according to Bloomberg.
Deutsche Telekom would seek to intervene if a deal goes ahead, stressed Höttges. “I find this deal totally unacceptable”, he said, adding that “I don’t see that this kind of concentration in the cable market can be supported from regulatory bodies.”
By combining its cable assets with Unitymedia, Vodafone could create a powerful converged fixed-line and mobile operator offering its services nationwide, competing head-on with Deutsche Telekom. Currently, Vodafone’s German cable network covers 13 federal states with Unitymedia serving the remaining three federal states.
Vodafone confirmed on February 2, 2018 that it is “in early stage discussions with Liberty Global regarding the potential acquisition of certain overlapping continental European assets owned by Liberty Global”, but stressed that “Vodafone is not in discussion with Liberty Global regarding a combination of both companies.”