Japanese cable operator Jupiter Telecommunications, which is part-owned by both Microsoft and John Malone's Liberty Media, has announced plans for a $2.5bn-$4bn initial public offering.

The company, which is Japan's leading cable operator, plans to float before Christmas on both the Nasdaq in New York and the fledgling Mothers high-tech stock market in Tokyo.

However the float comes at a turbulent time for media stocks and follows the disappointing IPO of satellite platform Sky PerfecTV which saw its share price tumble 20% on its opening day. TV Asahi, one of Japan's five national broadcasters, also floated recently and closed 2.5% below its offer price of Y400,000.

Initially analysts estimated that an IPO could value Jupiter at $5bn, but that figure has been scaled back to a more conservative $2.5bn-$4bn.

Jupiter is expected to offer slightly less than 20% of the company and aims to price the shares in Tokyo at Y70,000-Y81,000 and the American Depositary Shares at $13-$15. Proceeds from the float could be used to swallow up some of Japan's several hundred micro cable operators and speed up the roll-out of Jupiter's network.

Jupiter recently merged with Japan's second largest cable operator Titus Communications in a move that combined the local cable interests of US giants Microsoft and Liberty Media. Microsoft owned 60% of Titus while Liberty had a 50% share of Jupiter.

Liberty and Japan's Sumitomo Corp now own 35% of the merged entity while Microsoft has 24% and Itochu Corp and Toshiba own 3% each.

Jupiter has 750,000 subscribers across 28 franchises with a potential customer base of about five million. It plans to offer several new services including rebroadcasts of the five new digital satellite TV stations set to launch this December.