Malone stalking Europe for cable opportunities

Cable industry icon and billionaire John Malone is still actively trying to create a European cable dynasty, according to speculation in a Bloomberg feature story.

Malone, who built TCI into the number one cable operator in the U.S.--by far--before selling it off to AT&T which in turn sold it to Comcast, has already bought Germany's second largest cable operator, Unitymedia GmbH through his Liberty Global company. Now, he might be after number three, Kabel Baden-Wurerttemberg along with Polish operator Aster City Cable. Also potentially in his sights: gathering more broadband radio spectrum in the Netherlands, Belgium and Chile where the company runs cable operations.

If the 69-year-old Malone is actually making the moves--and he declined to comment for the article--it's understandable. European homes subscribing to digital cable are projected to more than double by 2014 and cable operators are going to need to scale up to attack the opportunity.

Always a lightning rod for attention, Malone has also been in the spotlight for his dealings with DirecTV (another Liberty product) which has been linked with a potential Verizon deal.

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Related articles:
Liberty plunks down $5.2 billion for Germany's Unitymedia
Placating FCC, Malone steps down from DirecTV board
AT&T and Malone: Could history repeat
Verizon dismisses DirecTV acquisition chatter

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