Dutch cable giant UPC has confirmed that it is in talks with Deutsche Bank to acquire Germany's second-largest cable TV company, Tele-Columbus, in a deal worth about $1.3bn.
The deal forms part of UPC's plans to build a broadband network across Europe, offering telephony and high-speed internet access. The Dutch company already owns cable TV assets in Germany, including stakes in Primacom and EWT/TSS, and plans to buy part of Deutsche Telekom's network.
The deal would also end a legal battle between Deutsche Bank and UPC. Deutsche Bank was involved in UPC's initial public offering and the Dutch company claims the bank had privileged access to its strategic plans, including its interest in buying Tele-Columbus. UPC sued Deutsche Bank after it bought Tele-Columbus last year and, in an initial ruling, the bank was prevented from selling the company to anyone else.
Tele-Columbus ranks only behind Deutsche Telekom in the German market. Deutsche Telekom is selling majority stakes in nine of its regional cable services for competition reasons.