US cable TV pioneer John Malone has entered the bidding war for UK broadcaster Flextech, reports British newspaper, The Times.

The sale of the the company, the content division of cable provider Telewest, could net around £1 billion ($1.84bn; €1.46bn). Telewest is currently in delicate merger negotiations with nominal rival NTL [WAMN: 29-Aug-05], and there is speculation that the auction of Flextech could be tactical rather than genuine.

Malone's Liberty Global is one of several major players who have expressed an interest in the broadcaster, which operates Living TV and Bravo channels among others. Also reported to be in the race are German TV giant RTL Group, Rupert Murdoch's satellite firm, BSkyB, and the UK's biggest commercial broadcaster, ITV.

Malone was one of the original backers of Flextech in 1994 and steered through its merger with Telewest five years later. He sold his holding following the cable group's financial crisis and restructuring in 2003.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff