New credit line to fuel KDG growth

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COLOGNE, Germany -- German cable giant Kable Deutschland has secured a €650 million ($930 million) credit line to help finance upcoming acquisitions.

The capital will be used primarily to bankroll KDG's planned acquisition of 1.2 million cable customers from competitor Orion Cable for €585 million ($837 million). That deal, pending approval from German competition watchdogs, is set to go through early next year. In addition, KDG said Tuesday that the new credit line will provide as much as €200 million ($286 million) for new acquisitions.

Those could include mobile telephone operators, a sector in which KDG CEO Adrian von Hammerstein has said the company has interest. One potential target could be German mobile provider E-Plus.

KDG is in a hurry to grow quickly and establish itself as more than just a cable TV provider. Von Hammerstein already has invested about €500 million ($721.6 million) in rolling out KDG's triple-play offerings of pay TV, Internet and telephony.

But so far, KDG has little to show for it. While the company's cable lines reach about 10 million German households, KDG's main pay TV services -- Kabel Digital Home and Kabel Digital International -- count just 750,000 subscribers between them. This compares with more than 3.5 million subscribers for German pay TV leader Premiere.

Things have been even slower on the other two triple-play fronts: KDG provides Internet access to a mere 300,000 customers and telephone service to about 250,000.
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