Plans by US cable group Liberty Media, the investment vehicle of entrepreneur John Malone, are once again in tatters after it failed to reach the final round in the auction of Deutsche Telekom’s cable-TV systems.

Liberty agreed a €5.5 billion ($5.4bn; £3.4bn) deal for the six regional networks last year, but the sale was blocked by the German Cartel Office on competition grounds.

When Telekom put the assets up for grabs again, Liberty launched another bid, this time teaming with private equity firms Apollo International, Blackstone Partners and BFD Capital. It hoped that by combining with other firms it would ease regulatory concerns.

However, its bid was reportedly the lowest of four submitted last month, and Liberty is now understood to have been excluded from the sale. Offers are said to range from €2bn to €2.3bn.

Only finance firms remain in the auction. Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst is bidding alone, contending with two consortia: Goldman Sachs, Providence Equity and Apax Partners on one side; and Warburg Pincus and CVC Capital Partners on the other.

DT is expected to name the triumphant bidder in around six weeks’ time.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff