The ongoing, lengthy (and apparently smooth) merger negotiations between UK cable TV, telephony and internet service companies NTL and Telewest have hit a rough patch.

The nominal rivals, both owned by US-headquartered parent companies with intertwined stockholders, have delayed the announcement of their union until this fall at earliest.

Sources, quoted by Reuters news agency, claim the two are struggling to reach agreement on price.

The problem is made more acute because of continued speculation that Telewest is planning to sell its Flextech content division, ahead of a merger.

Flextech properties include Bravo, Living TV and UKTV channels which have attracted the interest of major players, including US media giant Viacom [WAMN: 24-Aug-05].

A sale could net Telewest up to £1 billion ($1.8bn; €1.46bn), but the potential of it could be an even more useful lever in negotiations with NTL.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff