NEW YORK — Plans for United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC) and PrimaCom to merge their German cable assets were put on hold Monday as the companies agreed to postpone a vote on the combination scheduled by the latter’s shareholders to have been held at their annual meeting today.
Deal, announced in March, would create Germany’s third cable operator. Companies said mutual decision to postpone was “due to significantly changed market conditions since the merger was announced”– meaning a downturn in financial markets made the terms of a deal hard to meet.
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“The parties have agreed to investigate possible ways to meet all conditions precedent to close the merger and expect to conclude discussions by no later than (Oct. 31),” the companies said.
German newspaper Handelsbatt said Monday that the delay stemmed in part from worries among some PrimaCom investors that the company may become enmeshed in John Malone’s Liberty Media. The Denver investment firm holds a majority stake in UPC’s U.S.-based parent company, United GlobalCom.
The Netherlands-based UPC is Europe’s biggest cable company. Its shares, which have been decimated this year, fell 3.3% to 58¢ on Monday.