Vodafone, Liberty line up to buy Spanish cable group, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Vodafone and Liberty Global are competing to buy Spain’s largest cable operator, Ono, from its private equity owners, two people familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

Ono had been planning an initial public offering this year in a bid to capitalise on a wave of investor interest in the growing cable sector, sources told Reuters earlier.

Investment funds Providence Equity Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners, CCMP Capital Advisors, and Quadrangle Capital own 54 percent of Ono, according to the company’s website.

The funds are holding ongoing talks with Vodafone and Liberty, a person familiar with the situation said.

Spain is one of few European countries, along with France, where Liberty is not already present. Vodafone, for its part, has been acquiring broadband assets to allow it to offer bundled services to consumers and offload traffic from its mobile networks.

Ono posted a 15 million euro ($21 million) loss in the nine months to September and its TV business is losing clients as cash-strapped Spaniards cut leisure spending.

Ono, Vodafone, and Liberty declined to comment. The Financial Times reported Liberty’s interest in Ono earlier on Tuesday