Vodafone’s bid for German cable operator Kabel Deutschland faces competition in the form of Liberty Global which has tabled a rival bid.
Kabel confirmed it had received an offer from Liberty, which also owns a cable network in Germany. Liberty is owned by John Malone (pictured).
The intervention could complicate Vodafone’s strategy in Germany. It is seeking to match incumbent Deutsche Telekom with an improved fixed-and-mobile package of its own. Acquiring Kabel is a key part of that strategy.
The mobile operator confirmed last week it had made a preliminary approach to Kabel Deutschland.
Vodafone now faces a potential bidding war.
People familiar with the situation said Liberty had made an indicative offer that would value Kabel Deutschland at about €7.5 billion, according to the Financial Times. This would trump Vodafone’s initial offer, thought to be worth €7.2 billion.
However, one analyst interviewed by Bloomberg questioned whether Liberty’s interest was genuine.
Heike Pauls of Commerzbank suggested the Liberty offer was a tactical move to push up the price for Kabel and “make it more difficult” for Vodafone.
“Liberty is aware that the cartel office would at best approve their deal under very tough conditions,” he said.