Unterfoehring, Germany (ots) -

* Combination of Kabel Deutschland with networks in North Rhine Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Wuerttemberg will create customer base of more than 17 million, the largest in Europe.

* Combined businesses will focus on roll-out of new, efficient digital TV services. Digital roll-out expected to stimulate the creation of a wide variety of new programs and provide greater choice for customers

* Investments of approximately Euro 500 million in plant, equipment and new services planned over the next three years Kabel Deutschland GmbH today announced that it will acquire the three regional level 3 cable network operators in North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden- Wuerttemberg and Hesse, for a combined consideration of approximately Euro 2.7 bn.

The combination of the companies ish (Cologne), Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg (Heidelberg) and iesy (Frankfurt) with Kabel Deutschland will increase the company's customer base to more than 17 million homes connected. In three separate agreements, Kabel Deutschland agreed to acquire 100 percent of each of the remaining, non-overlapping level 3 CATV businesses in Germany: ish (4 million customers), Kabel Baden Wuerttemberg (2.3 million customers) and iesy (1.25 million customers). Completion of the acquisitions is subject to approval by the relevant regulatory authorities.

Following a successful combination of the three regional companies, Kabel Deutschland will operate the level 3 cable networks in all 16 German federal states. This will support Kabel Deutschland's planned rollout of digital TV services.

Investments of Euro 500 mill planned over next three years

The creation of a countrywide network will make it possible to roll-out digital TV services across Germany using a single technological platform and an open set-top box standard across all 16 federal states, resulting in lower overall consumer cost. It is also expected, over time, to result in the creation of new product offerings from the content industry including movie, sport, news, special interest and general entertainment channels. Kabel Deutschland plans to invest approximately Euro 500 million in equipment and new services over the next three years to support its current and future product offerings. These investments will further increase the attractiveness of Kabel Deutschland's services relative to competing satellite, digital terrestrial and internet based platforms.

"With these acquisitions, we are building an excellent platform for the roll- out of digital cable TV and new multimedia products in Germany that are already available in many other major European markets such as the UK, France, Italy and Spain", said Roland Steindorf, Kabel Deutschland's chief executive. "This will stimulate significant growth and expansion for both the media and consumer electronics industry in Germany. Also, the pan-German network will support an open set-top box standard which provides immediate access to the digital channels currently being produced by ARD and ZDF."

Regional Structures will be maintained

Following the acquisitions, Kabel Deutschland will maintain the regional structure of its operations and the local presence of the acquired businesses.

Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank acted as financial advisors to Kabel Deutschland.

Kabel Deutschland Kabel Deutschland (KDG) is the largest cable network operator in Europe, connecting 10 million households in thirteen German states. KDG manages the network infrastructure, is responsible for the marketing of cable access, as well as other related services, and develops new digital TV and high-speed internet services. The company's digital TV service provides a platform that is open to all content providers. In 2003, KDG was acquired from Deutsche Telekom by a consortium of financial investors comprised of Apax Partners, Providence Equity Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.


ish was established in 2000 and is based in Cologne. It operates North Rhine- Westphalia's cable network, employs a staff of 900 and has approximately 4 million customers. The shareholders are 22 banks including Citigroup and Deutsche Bank.

Kabel BW

The company has 2.3 million customers in Baden-Wuerttemberg and employs approximately 500 staff. It is owned by a group of financial investors lead by The Blackstone Group, CDP Capital-Communications and Banc of America Equity Partners.

iesy Hessen

The company operates in Hesse and has 1.25 million customers with 280 employees. It is majority-owned by private equity firms Apollo, Pequot and Golden Tree.