Kabel BW sold to Liberty Global for €3.16 billion

Sweden's EQT fund announced Monday it was selling Kabel BW, Germany's number three cable operator, to US-based Liberty Global for €3.16 billion ($4.49 billion).

Kabel BW sold to Liberty Global for €3.16 billion
Photo: DPA

“EQT’s Funds IV and V today announced that they have agreed to sell Kabel BW, Germany’s third largest cable network provider, to US media company Liberty Global Inc. for a total enterprise value of €3,160 million,” EQT said in a statement.

Kabel BW has some 2.3 million clients in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg.

EQT – a private equity fund controlled by Sweden’s powerful Wallenberg family – bought the company in 2006 from private equity group Blackstone for €1.3 billion.

During its Swedish ownership, Kabel BW’s sales went up 120 percent to €563 million, EQT said Monday.

In 2010, the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved by 21 percent to €316 million.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and Hellman & Friedman were also bidding for KBW but Liberty Global appeared to have the upper hand.

If its sale had failed, the group was considering going public on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Liberty Global Inc. operates broadband services serving 17.7 million clients in 14 countries, including Germany’s Unitymedia, Switzerland’s Cablecom and Belgium’s Telenet, as well as VTR in Chile and AUSTAR in Australia.

“We are very glad that Kabel BW will in the future be part of Liberty Global which is one of the most innovative media groups worldwide and will offer a fantastic environment for further expansion,” Gunnar Asp, the chairman of Kabel BW’s advisory board, said in the EQT statement.

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Travel: Germany downgrades Covid-19 risk status of USA

The United States is no longer classed as a "high incidence area" by Germany - it has returned to being a "risk area".

Travel: Germany downgrades Covid-19 risk status of USA
People walking in New York in May 2020. Photo: DPA

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) changed the risk classification of the United States on March 7th.

The US was previously classed as a “high incidence area” by the RKI. These are regions where the incidence is over 200 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents with a period of seven days.

However, now it’s a “risk area” – which is used by German authorities to describe a region with an increased risk of infection, usually above 50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in seven days.

Other factors are also taken into account, such as measures in place.

It means the travel requirements for people coming from the US to Germany have changed.

However, entry from the US is only permitted in a few narrow exceptions. Proof of urgent need to travel is required, German authorities say. You can find more information in the story below.

READ MORE: When are Americans allowed to travel to Germany?

What happens if I need to travel from the US to Germany?

If you are a German resident from the US, or fall into one of the exception categories, you still face strict testing and quarantine measures.

All travellers must have a negative Covid-19 test result at the latest 48 hours after they enter Germany. It must be presented to authorities if they request it.

Some individual airlines may however still say that travellers have to present a coronavirus negative test result before boarding is allowed. You should contact your airline before travel to check.

Both PCR tests as well as rapid anitgen tests are accepted if they meet the quality standards. Testing is still mandatory even if travellers are vaccinated or have recovered from a coronavirus infection. 

People returning from “risk zones” are required to self-isolate for 10 days after they arrive.

The quarantine can usually be ended with a negative coronavirus test result taken at the earliest five days after arriving in Germany.

However, states can differ on their travel regulations so check with your local authority before travelling.

Everyone entering Germany is also required to register online.

New “high incidence areas”

In the RKI’s latest travel classification list, Sweden, Hungary and Jordan are now classed as “high incidence areas” which means stricter testing and quarantine rules apply.

Areas of “variant concern” include Austria’s Tyrol region, the UK, Brazil, Portugal and Ireland. Even stricter rules apply for these regions.

You can find out more information about travel rules in our story below.

READ MORE: What you need to know about Germany’s latest rules on foreign travel