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Callahan NRW files for insolvency

Debts acquired through interactive TV upgrades

COLOGNE — U.S. cabler Callahan’s German subsid filed for insolvency in a Cologne court on Friday.

Callahan NRW serves 4.2 million cable TV households in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia through its unbrella unit, Ish, which is 45% owned by Deutsche Telekom. Callahan bought its majority stake from the telco for some $2 billion in 2000.

Company piled up debts with its ambitious plan to upgrade the grid for interactive TV but failed to attract customers.

Last week, Callahan’s other German unit, based in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, also halted work on its lines.

The bankruptcy hits debt-ridden Telekom, which in February was blocked by the cartel office from selling its remaining cable assets to Liberty Media.

Callahan’s German operations are victims of that failed deal, as they expected to join forces with Liberty to push upgrading and consolidate the scattered German grid.

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