German watchdog clears Vodafone, Kabel Deutschland deal

German watchdog clears Vodafone, Kabel Deutschland deal

FRANKFURT – Agence France-Presse
German watchdog clears Vodafone, Kabel Deutschland deal

Satellite dishes stand next to the headquarters of German cable television group Kabel Deutschland in Unterfoehring north of Munich June 24, 2013. REUTERS photo

The German competition authorities said on Wednesday they saw no objections to plans by British mobile phone giant Vodafone to take over Kabel Deutschland, Germany’s biggest cable operator.

“Following a preliminary examination on our part, we’ve assessed that it’s more of a complementary tie-up,” the head of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt, told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The dossier would now be passed on to the European competition watchdog, Mundt said.

In June, Vodafone launched a 7.7-billion-euro ($10.3-billion) cash offer for Kabel Deutschland in a bid to grow in Europe. Kabel Deutschland is Germany’s leading cable provider, providing television, telephony and broadband services to about 8.5 million connected households in 13 of Germany’s 16 federal states.

Vodafone is offering Kabel Deutschland shareholders 87 euros in cash for every share. The management and supervisory boards of Kabel Deutschland have signaled their intention to recommend Kabel Deutschland shareholders accept the offer.

The offer would provide Vodafone “with an attractive platform for TV and fixed broadband in Germany and creates a leading integrated operator with pro forma revenues of approximately 11.5 billion euros.” Turning to another proposed tie-up between mobile operators E-Plus and O2, Cartel Office chief Mundt was much more critical.

“It’s clear that the merger will have negative consequences for competition and must be examined in all aspects,” he told the newspaper.

The plans were unveiled in July, but since then the owner of E-Plus, KPN is the target of an unsolicited offer by Mexican operator America Movil and the latter’s plans for Germany are not yet known.