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Kabel Deutschland to Float an IPO?

Kabel Deutschland GmbH reportedly intends to go ahead with an initial public offering (IPO) after rejecting a handful of private buyout offers that would've valued Germany's largest cable operator as high as $7.5 billion.

A report in The Wall Street Journal said Kabel Deutschland received five offers of between €5 billion (US$6.8 billion) and €5.5 billion ($7.5 billion) from the following bidders: BC Partners and CVC Capital Partners (a joint bid), Advent International Corp. , Bain Capital , The Carlyle Group LLC , and Hellman & Friedman.

The paper said Providence Equity Partners , which already owns an 88 percent piece of Kabel Deutschland, has taken an outright sale off the table, and is now pursuing a partial float. It's unknown how much Kabel Deutschland will offer or when it might proceed with the IPO. An MSO spokesman declined to comment on the reports.

Speculation on the offering is coming along as the market undergoes some big changes. Late last month, Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) increased its expansion into Europe by closing a €3.5 billion ($5.2 billion) deal to buy Unitymedia GmbH , scuttling any chance that Germany's second-largest cable operator, with 4.55 million customers, would seek out an IPO. (See Liberty Global Completes Unitymedia Buy and Liberty Splashes $5.2B on German Operator.)

Kabel Deutschland, the largest cable MSO in Germany, passes roughly 8.9 million homes and operates cable networks in 13 German federal states. It generated revenues of €378.8 million ($515 million) in its fiscal third quarter, up 8 percent year-on-year, and had €97.4 million ($132.42 million) cash on hand. It ended the period with 11.93 million revenue generating units (RGUs, a combination of voice, video, and high-speed Internet subscriptions).

Earlier this month, the operator launched Docsis 3.0 service in Hamburg, starting off with 100-Mbit/s and 60-Mbit/s downstream tiers. Kabel Deutschland systems in Berlin, Hanover, and Munich are expected to complete the speed upgrade during the next six months, with the rest of its systems expected to do the same over the next 12 to 18 months.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:42:16 PM
re: Kabel Deutschland to Float an IPO? KDG on Tuesday confirmed it will float some shares, but it's still mum on how many and when. JB
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