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Telewest, Flextech to link in $4 bil deal

Illsley, Singer vying for top

LONDON — U.K. cable operator Telewest is expected this week to launch a $4 billion agreed takeover of pay TV programmer Flextech.

The deal is being billed as a merger, although Telewest, valued at nearly $13 billion, dwarfs Flextech.

One big issue to be resolved is who will lead the combined company, with Telewest chief exec Tony Illsley and Flextech exec chairman Adam Singer both maneuvering for the upper hand.

Share shift likely

The deal is not expected to offer shareholders much of a premium on Flextech’s current market value and is likely to be structured as a stock swap.

The companies have two common shareholders, Liberty Media and Microsoft, which are playing a large part in brokering the merger. Liberty owns 36.7% of Flextech and 21.6% of Telewest, while Microsoft holds 29.9% and 6.7%, respectively.

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