FRANKFURT Aug 14 German internet service
provider United internet is mulling a complete
takeover of cable group Versatel, in which it already owns a
stake, Chief Executive Ralph Dommermuth said.
"This is an option we are considering," he told Reuters on
Thursday. "It does not often happen that the second largest
German fibre optic cable network comes on the block."
United Internet bought a 25 percent stake in Versatel for 60
million euros ($80 million) in 2012. Buyout group KKR
owns the rest of the group, whose fibre optic cable network
spans 33 of the 50 largest German cities and totals 53,000
KKR recently launched the sale of its stake and people
familiar with the deal said that the asset may attract peers
such as Vodafone or Telefonica Deutschland.
Incumbent Deutsche Telekom, however, is unlikely
to bid for antitrust reasons, they added.
For United Internet the purchase of Versatel would result in
a shift in strategy. Until now, United Internet has
predominantly rented bandwith and resold it using its 1&1 or GMX
brands but has not invested in a grid on its own.
In the first half of 2014, United Internet increased its
earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation
by 35 percent to 237.6 million euros, while sales rose 12
percent to 1.43 billion euros.
(1 US dollar = 0.7463 euro)
(Reporting by Peter Maushagen; writing by Arno Schuetze;
Editing by Victoria Bryan)