Deutsche cuts list

Liberty likely among final 5 for DT systems

BERLIN — Deutsche Telekom short-listed five consortia for the second round of bidding on its six regional cable systems Monday but declined to name them, although U.S. cabler Liberty Media is thought to be in the running.

The cable franchises, which reach 10 million homes, were put on the block again after German antitrust authorities blocked Liberty from buying them in February for €5.5 billion ($5.4 billion).

With current estimates putting their value at just under $2 billion, Liberty topper John Malone should thank federal watchdogs for their rebuff. They rejected the earlier deal, fearing the company would have too much control of content and distribution.

Team players

Liberty is reportedly again seeking to acquire the cable assets, this time with the backing of international investment groups Apax Partners and Apollo Management.

The partially state-owned telco giant has said the six systems, which make up about 60% of Germany’s cable grid, would be sold as a package and not individually.

Bidders have until the end of September to present binding offers to Deutsche Telekom, which is under increased pressure to cut its debt and shore up losses after the recent resignation of CEO Ron Sommer.

Former Bertelsmann topper Thomas Middelhoff is said to be in the running for the CEO position.

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