U.S. cable firm offers $1.47 bil
BERLIN — U.S. cable group Liberty Media is reportedly offering rival Callahan Associates €1.5 billion ($1.47 billion) for its majority stake in the bankrupt Callahan NRW, the regional cable company in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.Liberty has also joined a consortium bidding for six other cable franchises from Deutsche Telekom. Liberty’s initial $5.4 billion bid for them earlier this year was blocked by Germany’s anti-trust authorities, bringing ambitious plans to upgrade Germany’s aging cable systems to a screeching halt. Callahan was partially dependent on a nation-wide cooperative effort to broaden cable bandwidths; the cartel office’s rejection of Liberty left Callahan high and dry, leading to its insolvency in July. Since then company has reportedly also been in talks with News Corp. about the sale of its assets in North Rhine-Westphalia. Callahan NRW has so far refused to comment on the reports. Callahan NRW’s core subsidiary, Ish, is being restructured and it is expected to release a new business plan by the end of September. Callahan is also facing difficulties with its other regional cable franchise in Baden-Wurttemberg. Deutsche Telekom, meanwhile, is seeking to finalize the sale of its six remaining cable companies by the end of the year. The telco has shortlisted six bidders, most of them international investment banks and venture capital firms.