June 24 - Vodafone has agreed to buy Germany's largest cable operator Kabel Deutschland for 7.7 billion euros ($10 billion), betting on TV and fixed-line services in its biggest deal since 2007. Hayley Platt reports.
7.7 billion euros is today's daily digit in Europe - the amount Vodafone has agreed to pay for Kabel Deutschland. The world's second largest mobile operator has offered 87 euros per share for Germany's largest cable operator. It fought off an inferior bid by cable giant Liberty Global. The move will give Vodafone access to television and digital broadband services. IHS Screen Digest's Guy Besson. SOUNDBITE: Guy Besson, Research Director for Television, IHS Screen Digest, saying (English): "It's obviously a new growth market for them and a new opportunity. They see the synergies now that the future of television increasingly looks internet delivered and on the move, on demand, that they see that the benefits they can bring to the deal can position Kabel Deutschland and themselves to fulfil that demand going forward." The deal will be Vodafone's second major fixed-line acquisition in 12 months. It recently bought Cable and Wireless Worldwide. But it may not be a done deal yet. SOUNDBITE: Guy Besson, Research Director for Television, IHS Screen Digest, saying (English): "It's almost inevitable that Liberty will counter bid. I think investors had expected Vodafone to bid and of course Liberty to bid. I think investor sentiment will be generally positive. We will wait and see if Liberty make a move now and increase the offer again as I say I suspect that is going to happen, so this is really just the beginning." But while Vodafone is new to the market it's offer is a cash one and Kabel says it will recommend it to shareholders. Any counter-bid by Liberty would also face tricky regulatory barriers as it already controls half the German cable market. News of the deal pushed both firms shares up around one and half percent. But Vodafone is paying a rich-price for access to Kabel's 8.5 million German homes. It considered buying the firm in 2010 before it went public - it's offer then was just 22 euros a share