Deutsche Telekom is expected to confirm today the sale of a 55% stake in its cable television network in North Rhine-Westphalia, for about $3bn to Denver investment company Callahan Associates International (CAI).

In addition, DB Investor, an investment unit of Deutsche Bank, is expected to take a minority stake in the network.

The deal will more than double to 15 million the number of European homes reached by CAI, which is headed up by former US West executives. CAI plans to upgrade it cable TV network to offer fast Internet connections, video-on-demand, interactive TV and phone services.

CAI is one of several US players snapping up European cable networks encouraged by the European Commission's deregulation of phone and cable TV networks. Dutch cable operator United Pan-Europe Communications, which is 51%-owned by Denver-based UnitedGlobalCom, has acquired a dozen European cable-TV operators since floating last year. Microsoft has invested in UK cable operators NTL and Telewest.

CAI is expected to create a holding company for its European cable TV interests which include a joint venture with Spanish cable operator Cableuropa and a 37% share in Canal Plus-owned French operator Numericable.