John Malone's Liberty Global May Get Second Shot at Germany's Kabel Deutschland (Report)

John Malone
John Malone
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LONDON – John Malone's Liberty Global may get a second chance to go after Germany's largest cable operator Kabel Deutschland.

U.K. telecom powerhouse Vodafone’s $10.1 billion bid for the company may fail to meet the required 75 percent support from shareholders, the Financial Times reported.

The deal was agreed in June as Vodafone beat out Liberty Global, but under its terms, three quarters of Kabel Deutschland shareholders must tender their shares by a Wednesday deadline. If that hurdle is cleared, the deal would enter a second phase.

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The FT said that some of shareholders are concerned that the firm could fall short of the threshold. It said one shareholder cited eight major German deals since 2007 that averaged just 68.5 percent support.

"There’ll be no change to the conditions set out in our earlier announcement," Vodafone told the FT, shooting down suggestions that the company could modify the required percentage of shareholder approval.

If Vodafone fails to hit the required level of shareholder support, it would need special approval by Germany’s market regulator to re-launch its bid right away. Otherwise, it would have to wait year under German takeover rules, which could open the door for Malone.

“Unfortunately the Vodafone guys have preempted us in trying to consolidate the rest of Germany,” Malone had said in a TV interview in July.

He was circling Kabel Deutschland with an eye to merging the group with its own German cable group, Unitymedia Kabel BW, the country's No. 2 operator. After the Vodafone deal agreement, Malone said Liberty Global could look to southern Europe for expansion opportunities as soon as the economy in the region starts improving.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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