* Liberty Global aims to beat Vodafone to the punch - report
* Report comes after regulator blocked similar deal
* Liberty Global, Kabel Deutschland decline to comment
* Kabel Deutschland shares up 5.2 percent
(Adds background, sector banker comment)
FRANKFURT, April 17 U.S. cable company Liberty
Global is preparing a takeover offer for Kabel
Deutschland, Manager Magazin reported, sending shares
in Germany's biggest cable company higher.
By preparing a bid, Liberty Global wants to steal a march on
UK-based telecommunications company Vodafone, which is
also interested in buying Kabel Deutschland, the monthly
magazine said in an excerpt of an article to be published on
Friday. The excerpt did not cite sources.
Kabel Deutschland and Liberty Global declined to comment.
Any attempt by Liberty Global to buy Kabel Deutschland,
which has a market value of 6.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion),
would likely meet resistance from anti-trust regulators as the
U.S. company already owns Unitymedia Kabel BW, Germany's No. 2
The German cartel office blocked a similar deal earlier this
year. Kabel Deutschland had wanted to buy Germany's No. 3 cable
company Tele Columbus, but the regular said such the move would
cement a duopoly and crimp competition.
A banker familiar with the sector said he could imagine that
Liberty Global was only preparing a bid to drive up the price of
Kabel Deutschland beyond what Vodafone would be willing to pay.
A source had told Reuters earlier this year that Vodafone
was considering a bid for Kabel Deutschland to expand its
services in Europe's biggest economy.
Shares in Kabel Deutschland were trading 5.2 percent higher
at 73.94 euros by 0955 GMT.
On Monday, Liberty Global won unconditional EU regulatory
approval for its $15.8 billion takeover of Britain's Virgin
($1 = 0.7616 euros)
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Additional reporting by Sabine
Wollrab and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Mark Potter)