Teuton cablers will carry BBC webs

Deal gives UPC 51% stake in PrimaCom, boost customers

LONDON — British channels BBC Prime and BBC Learning have struck a carriage deal with Germany’s Kabel Deutschland and PrimaCom.

BBC entertainment web BBC Prime will be distributed via both cablers, while BBC Learning will be reserved for Deutsche Telekom digital package Kabel Deutschland, which offers 16 channels in Berlin, Wolfsburg and Leipzig. BBC Prime will be included in PrimaCom’s family package.

Currently reaching about 1 million subscribers in Germany, PrimaCom was poised to merge with the German unit of the Dutch cabler UPC.

UPC currently holds 25.1% in PrimaCom. Deal would give UPC a 51% stake in PrimaCom and boost the overall number of customers by about 600,000. UPC also has an option to acquire rival network TeleColumbus, which would add another 500,000 households.

However, recent reports suggest the deal may be put on hold.

UPC shareholder Liberty Media is set to acquire six of Deutsche Telekom’s nine regional cable systems, but Liberty is seeking assurance from the German government that it won’t face antitrust problems in buying up other cable systems, such as PrimaCom.

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