US cable operator Liberty Global to acquire Germany's Unitymedia for $3 billion

US-based, international cable operator Liberty Global agreed to buy today Germany's second-largest cable network company Unitymedia GmbH for $3 billion (€2 billion) in order to expand its existing European footprint.

Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Global is also absorbing Unitymedia's $2.2 billion debt, taking the total value of the acquisition to $5.2 billion excluding transaction costs, the company said in a statement.

Cologne-based Unitymedia is the largest cable television operator in the German federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse and the third largest cable operator in Europe, as measured by the number of television subscribers.

The cable television operator runs its operations in 10 of Germany's biggest 20 cities, including Frankfurt, Cologne and Dusseldorf with a population of over 24 million people, an area producing about one third of Germany's GDP.

In addition to analog cable services, Unitymedia is a leading provider of integrated triple play services, driving subscriber growth across digital television, broadband internet and telephony. As of 30 September 2009, Unitymedia had approximately 4.5 million cable subscribers.

Private equity firms BC Partners of the UK and New York-based Apollo Management LP, hold a majority stake in Unitymedia.