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Primacom eyes regional cable nets

Deutsche Telekom bid deadline Friday

BERLIN — German cable operator Primacom will seek to acquire at least four of the nine regional cable networks being sold by Deutsche Telekom.

The company, which services 907,000 subscribers, said it’s eyeing Telekom’s network in the eastern part of the country, which includes Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. “We would be the most logical partner,” chief executive Jacques Hackenberg said at a news conference.

The company is also interested in the regional network covering the western states of Saarland and Rhineland Palatinate, Hackenberg said. Primacom is Germany’s fourth largest cable op.

The nine regional networks serve more than 4.8 million customers directly and another 12.4 million through other cable companies.

Bidding wars

Deutsche Telekom is selling up to 75% of each of its regional networks to companies willing to invest millions of marks to upgrade the networks to provide digital television and high-speed Internet access.

Last bids are due Friday. Deutsche Bank, which recently bought Telecolumbus, Germany’s second largest cable operator with 1.25 million subscribers, has formed partnerships with fellow German banks Westdeutsche Landesbank and Hypovereinsbank to bid on the networks.

Hackenberg said Primacom is working with several partners but not with the Deutsche Bank group. Microsoft and media group Bertelsmann have also expressed interest in offering a joint bid for at some, if not all, of the nine networks.

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