Versatel interested in Orion Cable

Jörn Krieger

German telco Versatel is reportedly planning to take over ailing cable operator Orion Cable, with preparations to finance the deal currently underway.

German newspaper Handelsblatt, quoting sources in financial circles, reports that the purchase price could amount to €450 million. With the transaction, the telecommunications and cable markets would further grow together, which - with TV, internet and telephony - already offer the same product portfolio. Versatel, which operates both ADSL networks and cable networks, considers itself to be a forerunner in the consolidation of both areas.

The company, which is backed by financial investors Apax and Cyrte Investments, has 710,000 ADSL customers and 160,000 cable customers, while Orion serves 3.2 million households. Versatel declined to comment on a possible Orion acquisition.

With a turnover of €762 million, Versatel is the fifth-largest German telco. Orion, with a turnover of €259 million, is the third largest cable operator. The company, which is in the hands of financial investors, faces being broken up due to its high debts of €1.7 billion.

The Orion Cable group, which comprises Tele Columbus and PrimaCom, is therefore in need of new investors. Kabel Deutschland, Unitymedia and Vodafone are also believed to be interested in a possible purchase.