Ailing British cable operator, US-owned NTL, is flirting with two all-American swains: John Malone’s Liberty Media [WAMN: 14-Feb-02] and, it was revealed this weekend, US media titan AOL Time Warner whose interest was predicted by WAMN a week ago [11-Feb-02].

Richard Parsons, ceo of AOL TW, has admitted to an interest in the UK cable market in which NTL is the largest operator. But it is unlikely that either contender would welcome a ménage a trois - which leaves NTL in the happy position of being able to cherry pick the best deal.

However, Liberty is the bookies’ favourite given that it already holds a 25% stake in NTL The latter would bring to any consequent marriage a negative dowry in the region of $17 billion (£11.9m; €19.51m) in debt.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff