Belgacom makes $650 mil cable offer

Wants to lure clients of Interkabel from Telenet

BRUSSELS -- Telecoms group Belgacom has made a $650 million offer to lure television clients of Belgian cable consortium Interkabel from rival operator Telenet.

Belgacom said its offer to take control of the customers and activities of the four cable TV operators in the Interkabel consortium is 40% more than Telenet's provisional $262 million deal with the cable group.

Belgacom CEO Didier Bellens wrote to the chairs and directors of the four operators -- Integan, Inter-media, PBE and WVEM -- and said if his offer were accepted ahead of Telenet's, Interkabel customers would not be bound to a single TV cable distributor.

A deal also would enable Belgacom to broadcast national soccer league games, which it acquired last week for three seasons in a $69.7 million deal.

"Belgacom remains convinced that the cable companies, their shareholders and television customers are entitled to a better proposal than what is currently offered," the group said.

Telenet -- controlled by John Malone's Liberty Global empire -- last week won two legal cases to prevent Belgacom from blocking its plans to acquire Interkabel.