Cable magnate John Malone has struck a deal that could turn the German cable market into a duopoly to challenge DT

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 21, 2011

2 Min Read
Liberty Global Scoops Up KBW for $4.5B

John Malone doesn't like to lose.

On Monday, his Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) agreed to buy Kabel BW GmbH & Co. , Germany's third-largest MSO, for €3.16 billion ($4.48 billion), outbidding CVC Capital Partners and Hellman & Friedman LLC . The deal, expected to close in the second half of the year, would make Germany the largest European market for Denver-based Liberty Global. (See Liberty Global to Acquire KBW.)

Last year, Liberty Global made its first big play in Germany, closing a US$5.2 billion deal for Unitymedia GmbH , Germany's second-largest MSO, with about 4.6 million subscribers. (See Liberty Splashes $5.2B on German Operator.)

KBW has 2.4 million customers, and its network passes 3.7 million homes.

Why this matters
The purchase of KBW from European private equity firm EQT Partners would make Liberty Global and MSO Kabel Deutschland GmbH close cable rivals in terms of sheer size, creating a two-headed cable monster for Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) to contend with. After the KBW deal, Liberty Global would own MSOs serving about 6.9 million subs, still a couple million off of Kabel Deutschland's 9 million-plus.

The buy would expand Malone's already prodigious European cable empire, which, in addition to Unitymedia, includes UPC Broadband , which operates systems in parts of Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland, as well as Telenet in Belgium.

For more
For more about Liberty Global's European handiwork, please check out:

  • Liberty Splashes $5.2B on German Operator

  • Liberty Global Eyeing German Expansion?

  • Liberty Global Canvassing Europe With Docsis 3.0

  • Liberty Exec Details D3's 'Sweet' Economics

  • Liberty Global Expands in Poland

  • Liberty Completes J:COM Sale

  • Liberty to Buy Unitymedia

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like