Vodafone makes offer for Kabel Deutschland

Vodafone makes offer for Kabel Deutschland

British mobile firm Vodafone is pursuing Kabel Deutschland after having an initial 7.2 billion euro ($9.6 billion) bid proposal knocked back by Germany’s biggest cable operator, sources close to the matter said.

The world’s second-biggest mobile operator has long been linked with a move for Kabel Deutschland, which operates in its most important European market and would help it to meet growing demand from customers for television, broadband, mobile and fixed-line services - so-called “quad play” - from one provider.

Vodafone sent a letter by email to Kabel Deutschland last week announcing its interest and indicating a price of 81 euros per share, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

One possible rival

That proposal, which was a 10 percent premium to last week’s price, was deemed to be too low by Kabel Deutschland, four sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

One Kabel Deutschland shareholder, who also declined to be named, said Vodafone’s offer “must begin with a 9” euros per share, which would take it to about 8 billion euros.

Any deal, which would be Vodafone’s largest since 2007, could help it better compete against mobile operators, which are cutting prices, and against the pan-European cable group Liberty Global, which has been on an acquisition spree.

Analysts said U.S. tycoon John Malone’s Liberty Global could make a counterbid for the company, though they added it would likely face greater regulatory scrutiny than Vodafone because it already owns Unitymedia in Germany.