Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile network operator, is set to buy Germany’s top TV cable company Kabel Deutschland for Euros 7.7 billion ($10.1 billion).
Vodafone has offered Euros 87 ($114) a share, which the Kabel board said it would recommend to shareholders.
John Malone’s Liberty Global is believed to have offered Euros 85 ($111) a share. Liberty could now come back with a counter-bid.
The Vodafone offer “adequately reflects both the strategic value of Kabel Deutschland to Vodafone and the company’s growth prospects,” Kabel said in a statement.
The purchase reflects Vodafone’s shift in strategy. It is looking to diversify from cell phones into other areas, such as broadband and pay TV.
“German consumer and business demand for fast broadband and data services continues to grow substantially as customers increasingly access TV, fixed and mobile broadband services from multiple devices in the home and workplace and on the move,” Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said Monday.
“The combination of Vodafone Germany and Kabel Deutschland will greatly enhance our offerings in response to those needs.”
The deal would give Vodafone 5 million broadband and 7.6 million TV customers in Germany — Europe’s largest economy – to add to its 32.4 million mobile customers in the country.