EC Devolves Cable Merger Decision to German Cartel Office

11 June 2004

The European Commission has bowed to local knowledge as it passes the decision over Germany's proposed single cable TV network to the federal cartel office.

One-time state monopoly, Deutsche Telekom installed Germany's cable network during the 1990s but then sold it as four separate businesses following its privatisation.

The last of the four cable firms, Kabel Deutschland, was sold only last year for over €1.7 billion ($2bn; £1.1bn) to the aggressively expansionist consortium of Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, Apax Partners and Providence Equity. KD now wants to acquire its three former siblings for €2.7bn.

The mooted merger is officially a matter for the EC, but the latter deem approval of the deal to require "examination of local markets and specific national circumstances". It has accordingly passed the decision to the German cartel office.

KD now hopes to win over the national watchdog, perhaps citing its €500m investment scheme for high-speed internet access and telephone services. But KD will first have to overcome the cartel office's concerns over the reduced competition a unified network would bring – the four cable firms currently serve 27m German households.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff