US media entrepreneur John Malone may be on the lookout for European cable acquisitions.

Speculation about an imminent shopping spree is mounting after pay-TV group UnitedGlobalcom -- control of which was recently assumed by Malone's Liberty Media -- unveiled plans for a rights offering to raise $1 billion (€0.8bn; £0.5bn).

UGC, parent of European cable operator United Pan-Europe Communications, revealed only that the cash would be used for servicing debt and other "general corporate purposes". Some analysts, however, are convinced that Malone means to expand his European cable portfolio.

The Liberty boss has been looking at Europe for several years, but suffered a setback in 2002 when German regulators blocked his bid for cable assets there. He took control of UGC under a deal announced last summer [WAMN: 21-Aug-03].

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