Kabel dominates Deutschland

Deal hands cabler Europe's largest subscriber base

BERLIN — Kabel Deutschland, which already controls six of the country’s nine regional cable systems, has acquired the three remaining operators for E2.7 billion ($3.3 billion), giving it complete coverage of the Teutonic cable market.

In three separate deals announced April 4, Kabel Deutschland has agreed to completely takeover Ish, the cable operator in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Iesy in Hesse and Kabel BW in Baden Wuertemberg. The purchases leave Kabel Deutschland with more than 17 million households in all of Germany’s 16 states — the largest cable subscriber base in Europe.

In addition, Kabel Deutschland inked a carriage deal with Universal Studios Networks for its 13th Street and Sci Fi channels.

“Our distribution strategy is based on bringing our brand-name broadcaster to the biggest audience possible,” said USN topper Wolfram Winter. “Kabel Deutschland offers an attractive package structure, and with its new digital offering, it has great potential for success.”

The Kabel group is planning to pump more than $600 million into new services and products over the coming three years to advance digital broadband cable services throughout the country, including the creation of a wide variety of new digital channels, and high-speed Internet access.

“With these acquisitions, we are building an excellent platform for the roll-out of digital cable TV and new multimedia products in Germany that are already available in many other major European markets such as the UK, France, Italy and Spain”, said Roland Steindorf, Kabel Deutschland’s chief exec. “This will stimulate significant growth and expansion for both the media and consumer electronics industry in Germany.”

The acquisitions, which remain subject to regulatory approval, reunite all of Deutsche Telekom’s nine regional cable businesses under one roof after Europe’s largest telco began selling them off four years ago in order to comply with European and German cartel law and help cut its debt.

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