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Deutsche Tele in selloff mode

New York, Jan. 28: Deutsche Telekom is planning sell six regional cable-television networks to a group of American investors for 1.725 billion euros, or about $ 1.87 billion, according to executives close to the negotiations.

The group ó Apax Partners, the Goldman Sachs Group and Providence Equity Partners ó is buying the television networks at a significant discount to the 5.5 billion euros that Liberty Media, controlled by John C. Malone, agreed to pay for the business last year. The Liberty deal was eventually blocked by German regulators.

The price is even lower than Deutsche Telekomís most recent estimate. In November, Deutsche Telekomís chief financial officer, Karl-Gerhard Eick, predicted that the cable business, which serves more than 10 million German households, would sell for 2 billion to 2.3 billion euros.

Still, the deal calls for an additional payout of as much as 375 million euros if the businesses are sold again quickly within a certain number of years, the executives close to the negotiations said.

The sale is an important step in Deutsche Telekomís effort to reduce its $ 69 billion debt load. Deutsche Telekom, Europeís largest telecommunications company, has been struggling with the consequences of an aggressive expansion abroad, including the acquisition of VoiceStream, the American wireless provider. It also paid billions of dollars for licences to offer third-generation wireless services in Germany and Britain.

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