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Vodafone puts in multi-billion euro bid for German cable giant

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Vodafone is in talks to acquire Kabel Deutschland, Germany's biggest cable TV operator, as it seeks to expand beyond mobile telephony.

The approach was confirmed by the company this morning, following overnight speculation prompted by Bloomberg.

The deal is at a very early stage, but Vodafone has confirmed preliminary talks are in progress. These could result in an offer being made, though the €7bn figure is a guess based on the market value of Kabel Deutshland.

Vodafone was rumoured to be interested in Kabel Deutschland back in February, when talk of a €10bn offer abounded. Since then Voda has signed a deal with Deutsche Telekom to sell video content over fixed lines, but buying Kabel Deutschland would be a significant change of direction.

Germany is a very competitive market, and the bid is both offensive and defensive: it would prevent Kabel Deutschland launching into mobile, while giving Vodafone a pipe over which it could sell fixed and TV services to its mobile customers.

It would also prevent a bid from Liberty Global, who recently entered the UK cable market with its purchase of Virgin Media.

Liberty already has operations in Germany and could yet take an interest in Kabel Deutschland, especially now that Vodafone is sniffing around again. ®

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