Telewest surrenders

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The Independent Online

Adam Singer, chief executive of the troubled cable TV group Telewest, has signalled that he would be willing to talk to its main rival, NTL, about being taken over.

Adam Singer, chief executive of the troubled cable TV group Telewest, has signalled that he would be willing to talk to its main rival, NTL, about being taken over.

The group's shares have collapsed from a high of 565p in March to just 160p at the end of last week as it revealed delays to its digital TV service and disappointing subscriber figures. It is currently worth £4.6bn.

Mr Singer said that, though no talks were being held at the moment, to consider a possible deal with NTL was "legitimate speculation". "I don't see a great glory in independence - there is an advantage in leveraging the networks," he said.

Mr Singer said that there were great business advantages in Telewest and NTL coming together to create one cable TV company, but "it is hard to see how we would put together the financial issues".

NTL, which said it was not about to buy Telewest, has around $10bn of debts, much in junk bonds, and has seen its share price fall by more than half this year.

The US-based group purchased CWC Communications, the number three cable TV group, earlier this year, and has set about aggressively acquiring sports rights and programming. It also launched an unmetered internet access service, prompting some others to follow suit.

Though NTL has been seen as an aggressive player in the market, Mr Singer said that he is convinced that Telewest is undervalued by the market because of its strong position in broadband cable, which allows high speed internet access.

"God is on the side of those who have the most bandwidth, and we have the most bandwidth," he said.

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