The takeover of German cable operator Kabel BW by US media company Liberty Global, parent company of Unitymedia, is now legally binding.
The competitors Deutsche Telekom and NetCologne who lodged objections against the approval of the acquisition by the Federal Cartel Office in January 2012 have revoked their complaints. The Cartel Office has consented to the withdrawal, according to Unitymedia Kabel BW.
The move is based on a settlement reached in Q4 2014 according to which Liberty Global will make a payment to the appellants. The extent of the payment has not been disclosed.
Deutsche Telekom and NetCologne took legal action against the anti-trust clearance of the merger arguing that it would have negative impact on competition in the cable and broadband market.
The regional appeal court Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf ruled in favour of the appellants and suspended the Cartel Office’s approval of the acquisition in August 2013. Liberty Global subsequently submitted an objection against the ruling at the Federal Court of Justice.
Once the Federal Court of Justice terminates its proceedings which is expected to occur during Q1 2015, the Federal Cartel Office’s clearance of Liberty Global’s Kabel BW takeover will become final and binding without any additional review or conditions.
The settlement gives Liberty Global security in the German market. In the worst case, the company would have faced the unbundling of its already merged German units Kabel BW and Unitymedia or stricter conditions imposed by the Federal Cartel Office.