Cable group in pounds 375m deal

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The Independent Online
Consolidation in the UK cable industry continued yesterday when operator NTL announced an agreed $600m (pounds 375m) takeover bid for Comcast UK, its rival. The companies, which are both quoted on the Nasdaq stock market, have been left out of recent merger activity.

The deal casts doubt on the ongoing negotiations between NTL and TeleWest, the UK's second largest cable operator. Talks have been continuing since last August, and are widely thought to have stalled.

TeleWest and Comcast cooperate in two cable franchises, Cable London and Birmingham Cable. TeleWest pointed out that it has the right to acquire Comcast's interests in those franchises if the company changes hands, and said it was considering its options. However, analysts said TeleWest's heavy debt load would prevent it from paying cash for the stakes.