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EU approves Vodafone Kabel Deutschland buy

The European Commission on Friday approved the €7.7 billion ($10 billion) takeover of German cable operator Kabel Deutschland by British telecom giant Vodafone.

EU approves Vodafone Kabel Deutschland buy
Photo: DPA

In a statement, the Commission, the Europan Union’s executive, said an “investigation confirmed that the activities of the merging parties were mainly complementary” and would not “appreciably alter competition”.

With 8.5 million subscribers and €1.7 billion of annual turnover, Kabel Deutschland is the largest cable operator in Germany.

Vodafone is flush with cash after selling off its stake in a US joint venture to partners Verizon for $130 billion earlier this month.

On September 13th, shareholders of Kabel Deutschland gave the go-ahead for the acquisition priced at 87 euros per share.

The deal comes during a period of consolidation within the European cable industry.

Liberty Global announced in February the acquisition of its British rival Virgin Media in a deal worth $23.3 billion.

AFP

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MERGER

German steelmaker defends merger talks with Tata Steel

German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp on Saturday defended merger talks with Indian rival Tata Steel saying the consolidation of the sector in Europe was necessary due to the "difficult economic situation".

German steelmaker defends merger talks with Tata Steel
"We have always said that we consider a consolidation in the European steel sector necessary due to the very difficult economic situation," a Thyssen spokeswoman said. Photo: DPA

The Indian firm said on Friday that it was in talks with its German competitor and other unnamed groups to create a large European steelmaker but did not give further details.

Tata has been considering seven bids for its UK assets since putting them up for sale in March, citing a global oversupply of steel, cheap imports into Europe, high costs and currency volatility.

“We have always said that we consider a consolidation in the European steel sector necessary due to the very difficult economic situation,” Thyssen spokeswoman Nicola Roettger told AFP.

“The entire steel industry in Europe is fighting to continue to have a future in a difficult economic context,” she said. “Very few European steelmakers are currently making profits,” she said.

Koushik Chatterjee, group executive director and Tata Steel's executive director for Europe, said it was “too early to give any assurances about the success of these talks”.

The British government has been racing to help find a buyer for Tata's business, which had accounted for about 16,000 jobs in total, many of them at the Port Talbot steelworks in Wales, the country's biggest steel plant.

Last month, Tata agreed to sell its European piping business to Greybull Capital, a British-based family investment firm, safeguarding 4,400 jobs in Britain.