Microsoft, Bertelsmann may take over DT cabler

BERLIN — Speculation continues to grow in Germany about Bill Gates’ much-anticipated move into the Teutonic market.

The weekly Der Spiegel reports that Microsoft and media giant Bertelsmann are in talks with the Deutsche Bank to take over Deutsche Telekom’s cable network.

While Telekom is asking DM 30 billion ($16.5 billion), Der Spiegel says Bertelsmann is offering between $5 and $5.5 billion, just $550 million more than Deutshe Bank’s original bid. According to the publication, however, Telekom chairman Ron Sommers has been seriously considering a partnership with an unnamed U.S. telephone company in which Telekom would offer its cable system in exchange for company shares.

Last week two German publications reported that Microsoft was looking to spend up to $1 billion for a piece of the German telephone company.

Microsoft has so far refused to comment on the story.

The software giant recently bought a $5 billion piece of AT&T and has reportedly been in negotiations for up to 30% of the U.K.’s Cable & Wireless.

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