American players eye German cabler

Callahan, UPC, Kletsch in talks

BERLIN — A string of U.S. players have been short-listed by cable gatekeeper Deutsche Telekom (DT) for its coveted cable systems that are currently on the block.

DT has named three bidders who have made the final rounds for three of its nine regional cable systems. It will continue exclusive talks with this trio until the end of January.

American appetite

For the state of North Rhine Westphalia, DT is in talks with U.S. communications group Callahan. Dutch-based but U.S.-owned cable giant UPC, which has just acquired a minor stake in Germany’s fourth-largest cable operator, PrimaCom, is in negotiations for the state of Saarland. U.S. investor group Kletsch is negotiating for the state of Hesse.

DT is selling off 35% stakes in each of its nine regional cable systems, planning to maintain a 25.1% stake in each and to float the remaining 39.9%.

Other bidders include PrimaCom itself and a local bank consortium. Microsoft, Rupert Murdoch and local heavyweight Bertelsmann are interested in joining other bidding groups.

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