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Microsoft Offers Its Telewest Holding to Malone

News, 05 July 2002

Attempts by US cable entrepreneur John Malone to strengthen his clout at Telewest, the UK’s number two cable operator, received a boost with the news that his Liberty Media investment vehicle has been offered the 23.6% stake held by Microsoft.

Eager to ditch its unprofitable cable investments, the software colossus has told a consortium headed by Liberty that it can have the stake for 47.8 cents per share, around $332 million (€339m; £218m), though the offer will remain on the table only for the next 30 days. If Liberty, which owns 25% of the firm, does not buy the stock, Microsoft can offload it elsewhere.

Telewest bondholders last month rejected a $350m bid by Malone to buy their bonds. The ailing cable firm is contemplating a debt-for-equity swap similar to that of rival NTL, which could give bondholders considerably more power.

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