Vodafone is planning to complete its acquisition of German cable operator Kabel Deutschland in October, according to Bloomberg sources.
The deal will be completed after Kabel’s shareholder meeting in October, with the timing suggesting that Vodafone is anticipating a fairly simple antitrust process.
One source said Vodafone is currently in discussions with the European Commission to address competition concerns and will decide whether to file for EU antitrust approval depending on the outcome of the negotiations.
Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said last month that he didn’t expect the discussions to be very complicated, with minimal concern around competition.
Vodafone’s acquisition of Kabel has been complicated by a rival €7.5 billion bid (€85 per share) offer from media company Liberty Global in June, which beat Vodafone’s original offer of €7.2 billion. Vodafone then raised its bid to €7.7 billion, while also taking on €3 billion in debt.
With Liberty also expected to face more regulatory scrutiny over the deal than Vodafone, due to existing cable operations in Germany, the company is not expected to make another counterbid.
Vodafone’s latest €87 per share offer also includes a €2.50 dividend which Kabel Deutschland promised to pay in October. However, given the timeframe, Kabel is likely to pay this dividend directly, reducing Vodafone’s offer to €84.50 per share.
Vodafone plans to submit its official offer by the end of July for it to be discussed by Kabel’s supervisory board on 1 August, the sources said. Kabel has said it would recommend Vodafone’s bid to shareholders.
Through the deal, Vodafone will gain access to 8.5 million German households and bolster its quadplay (fixed, mobile, internet and television) proposition, allowing it to compete more effectively with rival Deutsche Telekom.