Telenet inks $672 mil Interkabel pact

Annual turnover of $139 mil expected for the company

BRUSSELS -- Belgian cable group Telenet has signed a $672 million agreement with four local cable operators and their joint TV venture Interkabel.

The final deal comes seven months after Telenet -- controlled by John Malone's Liberty Global empire -- signed a provisional agreement with the Interkabel TV consortium.

Telenet's bid was $7.9 million more than that of a rival offer by telecoms giant Belgacom and $118 million above Telenet's original offer.

Telenet says that, once the acquisition goes through, it will bring annual turnover of $139 million to the company. Flanders -- the Dutch speaking, northern part of Belgium -- will then have a single cable operator and a single digital TV offer, reaching 2.5 million homes.

Belgium has a dynamic cable and Internet market: cable has a 99% penetration in the country, Telenet is pioneering its interactive digital TV service and Belgacom holds Belgian football's TV rights.

Telenet's 2007 revenue was $1.4 billion, up 15% from 2006's $1.2 billion, and net profit rose to $30.5 million from $12.5 million.