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European cable industry tipped for more consolidation

Manuel Kohnstamm

Manuel Kohnstamm

Europe’s cable industry is on the “brink of a new wave of consolidation,” according Cable Europe president and Liberty Global SVP and chief policy officer Manuel Kohnstamm.

Speaking at a Cable Europe press briefing at Cable Congress in Amsterdam, Kohnstamm predicted that recent consolidation in the cable space would continue following a spate of recent deals – such as Liberty’s own agreed buyout of Dutch operator Ziggo.

“The mobile industry is actively consolidating at this moment. I think there’s a lot of desire on the fixed telecom business to do that as well,” said Kohnstamm, who also forecast more tie-ups between mobile and fixed line players.

“We’ve seen a great deal of those [deals already]” he said, citing pay TV provider Zon Multimédia’s acquisition of mobile telco Optimus in Portugal, which was approved by the country’s competition watchdog in August, and Vodafone’s acquisition of Kabel Deutschland, which it completed in October.

Discussing the opportunity in the cable space, Kohnstamm said that around half of Europe’s cable customers – some 50 million households – are still served by fairly small cable companies.

“About three years ago there was 7,000 cable companies in Europe. I think today there’s still 6,000. So yes we are consolidating – a big chunk of them are being consolidated as we speak,” said Kohnstamm.