Liberty Global completes buy of German MSO


The international MSO controlled by John Malone completed its $4.1 billion deal on 12/15 to buy Germany’s third-largest cable TV system, Kabel Baden-Wurttemberg (KBW). German antitrust regulators cleared the deal after weeks of review.

Liberty Global (LGI), based in Colorado, plans to operate the southern German cable system in conjunction with the Unitymedia system, also in Germany, that it bought for $5.2 billion in 2010.

The addition of KBW’s 2.4 million customers makes LGI the largest German cable operator by revenue, and the nation’s second-largest by subscribers. LGI is also one of the largest broadband providers outside the US. It was formed by the merger of the international arm of Liberty Media and UGC (UnitedGlobalCom).

The KBW deal makes Germany the biggest market for LGI, which operates in 14 countries.

“The combination of Unitymedia and KBW creates a powerful platform for innovation and growth,” Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said in a news release. “Together, our German operations pass over 12 million homes, provide over 10 million subscription services and generate approximately 1.6 billion Euros [$2.1 billion] in annualized revenue.”

Liberty Global outbid other companies for KBW in March, which is when EQT, a Swedish private equity firm, auctioned off the business.