US-owned cable giant NTL, which last year underwent a draconian financial restructuring prior to its acquisition of compatriot cable operation Telewest, is being stalked by a quartet private equity companies according to a report in Wednesday's The Times.

Despite the fact that the cable colossus last year rejected a £9 billion ($17.05bn; €13.34bn) bid overture from the same sources, the firms are again eyeing NTL - their predatory instincts kindled by a 20 % fall in NTL's share price during the past four months. They are now said to be waving a cool £10bn beneath investors' noses.

Since early May investors have been progressively marking down NTL shares as the much-vaunted benefits from its restructure and merger failed to bridge the gap between promise and performance.

Moreover, the payback from NTL's absorption of Virgin Mobile early in July is - as yet - just a speck on the far horizon.

If it comes to pass, the new bid which reportedly depends on NTL's share price falling below its current level of $24.42, would represent one of the largest private equity buyouts yet in the UK.

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