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