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Cartel concerns could quash Liberty/DT deal

Wed, 01/30/2002 - 7:00pm
Anne Kerven

Liberty Media Corp. received a formal statement of objections from Germany's Cartel Authority about Liberty's proposed $4.76 billion acquisition of six regional cable TV companies from Deutsche Telekom AG.

The cartel could reject the merger if Liberty doesn't resolve the objections.

The cartel reportedly questions Liberty's ability to own both the network and last-mile access. Deutsche Telekom owns most of the country's cable system but hasn't moved into the last mile or retail arena, which Liberty has been busy doing via acquisitions, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The cartel suggests Liberty compete in DT's local phone and broadband data services market, a move that would take billions in upgrades, which Liberty isn't inclined to do, WSJ says.

Liberty is reviewing the statement to see if it can satisfy the concerns "in a manner consistent with a sustainable business plan and capital structure," says President and CEO Robert Bennett, in a statement.

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