Britain-based wireless provider Vodafone (VOD) disclosed it approached German cable operator Kabel Deutschland to discuss a possible takeover which could be valued at more than $10 billion. Kabel’s shares, traded on the Frankfurt, Germany exchange, rose 9% on the news, while Vodafone was down a fraction in early morning Nasdaq trading.
Kabel Deutschland is Germany’s largest cable company, serving nearly 8.5 million customers, and sporting a market capitalization of around $9.4 billion.
Vodafone, which owns 45 percents of Verizon’s (VZ) wireless operation, is looking to add Kabel for access to its cable, television, and broadband service operations. Merging the groups could expand its fixed-line, cell phone, television and internet service options available in Germany.
The deal could become Vodafone’s largest purchase since buying a controlling stake in Hutchison Essar of India in 2007 for $11 billion. The company has been growing through acquisitions and mergers since the late 1990′s.
It’s expected that John Malone’s Liberty Global (LBTYA), which just completed a $16 billion purchase of Virgin Media (VMED) will look at Kabel as it turns its attention to Germany, and its growing mobile user base.
Both Vodafone and Kabel declined to comment on the news, with both indicating discussions were in the early stages.
Written by Marc Bastow, Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he is long VZ.