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NTL - Telewest merger is go

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The long-awaited merger of the UK's two cable companies which has been dragging on for years looks set to be finalised this week.

The tie-up between NTL and Telewest could be announced as early as today in a deal worth up to $5.8bn, according to reports.

Of course, if all this sounds familiar, you'd be right. NTL and Telewest have been linked as an item for years. However, debt and Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection among other things have kept the pair apart. Until now.

High-level talks between both companies kicked off in June with reports suggesting that a deal would be finalised by the end of July.

That deadline slipped but both sides kept on talking. Why? Cos with their triple play offering of TV, phone and broadband, the enlarged group would provide a sizeable player in the market against satellite broadcaster Sky and dominant UK telco BT.

A merger would also create a cableco with annual revenues of around £3.3bn (£1.9bn) and some five million customers. ®

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