Published: 08.00 UTC, March 21, 2011 by Julian Clover

The financial future of Germany’s third largest cable operator remained in play on Monday after Liberty Global (LGI) increased its bid for Kabel BW.

In a weekend of intense bidding the UPC owner, which already holds Germany’s second largest cableco Unitymedia, topped an earlier bid by the private equity firm CVC. Reuters reported that LGI had tabled a new offer of €3.1 billion, topping an earlier €2.95 billion bid from CVC, which had itself edged ahead of Liberty.

Another private equity firm, Hellman & Friedman, is also involved in the bidding process.
Kabel BW serves 2.3 million homes in the state of Baden-Württemberg, which combined with Unitymedia’s 4,555,100 would be likely to attract the attention of the competition authorities. The market leader Kabel Deutschland, which represents the rump of the old Deutsche Telekom cable infrastructure has 8,846,400 homes.

Plans for an IPO were only officially released on March 11. The transaction is being handled by Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan with BofA Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Scotland.

EQT was acquired for €1.3 billion in 2006 from Blackstone.