Liberty Global counters Vodafone’s Kabel Deutschland bid

German fixed broadband and TV operator Kabel Deutschland has confirmed that it has received an acquisition approach from international cable provider Liberty Global. The move follows an offer from Vodafone last week. No details on the size of either offer have been made public and the prospect of a bidding war now looms.

Liberty already operates in the German market, under the Unity Media brand, and has 11.3 million service subscribers—6.7 million video, 2.3 million broadband and 2.3 million fixed telephony at an average of 1.60 service subscriptions per customer relationship. The firm ranks second in the German cable market and the deal would therefore require approval from the competition authorities.

Earlier in June Liberty completed the acquisiton of UK fixed broadband and cable operator Virgin Media, which also operates the Virgin Mobile MVNO.

Meanwhile reports have emerged that Vodafone is also considering a bid for Italian fixed operator Fastweb. Vodafone already offers fixed line and TV services in the Netherlands and Portugal.

Opportunities for growth in mobile are fast disappearing in Europe and service diversification could well drive a new wave of consolidation in the market as large operators look to further increase their scale and exploit the longer customer lifecycles that can be available in the pay TV market.

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