Liberty Media, Kabel Deutschland eye KBW

Liberty Media, rival cable group Kabel Deutschland and a number of private equity groups have emerged as bidders in the €2.5 billion-€3 billion ($3.4bn-$4.1bn) auction of Kabel Baden-Württemberg, Germany’s third-largest cable operator.

Initial bids for the company, which provides television, telephone and Internet services to 2.3 million customers in the southwestern German region, are due on February 16th.

The sale of KBW by EQT, the private equity arm of Sweden’s Wallenberg family, could trigger consolidation of Germany’s cable industry. EQT is also considering an initial public offering of KBW if offers fall below its asking price.

Both Liberty Media and Kabel Deutschland could face difficulties with competition authorities, which may oppose any reduction in German cable operators from three to two, even though they operate in separate regions.