Germany's Federal Cartel Office has blocked Deutsche Telekom's planned sale of six regional cable TV companies to the US media concern Liberty Media throwing the German media landscape into disarray.

In an official communique, Deutsche Telekom (DT), which had seen such a transaction as being "a clear stimulus to competition", regretted the decision, pointing out that "the emergence of a new infrastructure provider in the local network would have been a particular benefit". DT declared that it was "open to new negotiations with interested parties" and would also continue "the programme of systematic debt reduction".

In response to the latest developments, the British investment group Compere Associates suggested that it could be in the running as a buyer for the cable networks. In the past, Compere had indicated that it would be prepared to pay a comparable price to the Euros 5.5bn price tag agreed between DT and Liberty.

It remains uncertain whether US investor Gary Klesch, who acquired the Hesse cable network from DT in 2000, would be interested in bidding for the networks.