VODAFONE is understood to have won a multi-billion euro bidding war for Kabel Deutschland, the German cable operator.
Sources close to the British firm last night confirmed that the two companies had reached an agreement that values Kabel Deutschland at around €7.7bn (£6.6bn).
Vodafone has beaten European cable giant Liberty Global to the deal, which is expected to be publicly approved by Kabel Deutschland’s board today. Liberty Global – which recently paid $23.3bn (£15.1bn) for UK cable firm Virgin Media – entered the battle for Kabel Deutschland last week with a €7.5bn offer but Vodafone moved swiftly to top the bid.
Adding the broadband and TV services that companies like Kabel Deutschland offer is seen as crucial to Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao’s plans to kickstart growth in Europe. Vodafone’s core mobile network business has suffered in recent years due to both the Eurozone crisis and regulatory issues, and Colao could choose to sell the company’s stake in Verizon Wireless, the US network that has become the best performing part of the group.
Vodafone was in talks with Kabel Deutschland earlier in the year but put discussions on hold after they became public knowledge. The deal will be Vodafone’s fifth largest in its history, and the biggest since 2007’s purchase of Indian operator Hutchison Essar.
The companies did not comment.