Brit co. to supply set-top boxes

COLOGNE — Germany’s largest cable grid operator, Kabel Deutschland, has signed U.K. company Pace Micro as technical partner as it prepares to roll out new digital TV services.

Pace Micro will supply Kabel Deutschland with its DC210 set-top boxes, which include Nagravision, the decoder system Pace Micro also has sold to German paybox Premiere.

“We are very excited by Germany’s digital TV prospects and are delighted to be playing such an active part shaping its developments,” said Pace manager Heinrich Haase.

Kabel Deutschland, which connects 10 million households, intends to launch digital TV this spring with additional channels, including foreign channel packages.

This will enable Kabel Deutschland to offer pay TV services, creating another competitor for Premiere.

Company is following on the heels of cable provider Ish in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which in November introduced 38 pay channels, including Universal’s Sci Fi and 13th Street.

Meanwhile, bidders are lining up to take over Ish, a former Callahan operation, from its creditor banks.

While Ish wouldn’t confirm names, offers around e1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) reportedly have come from Apollo, Blackstone, BC Partners and a consortium of Goldman Sachs, Apax and Providence.

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