Antitrust body blocks cable deal

KDG-PrimaCom pact stopped

BERLIN — Germany’s antitrust watchdog has curbed plans by local cable giant Kabel Deutschland (KDG) to take a stake in fellow cable provider PrimaCom.

KDG agreed last month to buy a 19% stake in the company, a major level-four operator in Germany that reaches some 1 million customers, from shareholder Wolfgang Preuss. KDG closed the deal last month without the Federal Cartel Office’s approval.

The watchdog has now put the deal on ice, saying it was not valid since it had not approved it and stressing that it was subject to regulatory review.

KDG has said it is in negotiations with the Cartel Office.

KDG has sought to consolidate assets in Germany’s cable market. As a major level-four operator, PrimaCom controls the last connections to consumers. For KDG, control of level-four connections would ease overall digital expansion.

PrimaCom’s other shareholders include Orion Cable, which last year acquired a 27% stake in the cabler from John Malone’s Liberty Global.

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