Kabel Deutschland has open mind about Vodafone bid, sources say

Kabel Deutschland is keeping an 'open mind' about a potential takeover bid from Vodafone, according to reports Thursday.

Kabel Deutschland is keeping an 'open mind' about a potential takeover bid from Vodafone, according to reports Thursday.

Vodafone was expected to put forth an offer for Kabel as early as this week after the German cable operator revealed on Wednesday it doubled its net profits to €200m for the nine-months to December 31st.

"Kabel Deutschland is in no defence mode," a source told Reuters Thursday, while another said: "Kabel Deutschland will assess any offer with an open mind."

Vodafone is said to be lining up a white knight to back its rumoured bid and is understood to have hired Goldman Sachs to advise on options.

Kabel is believed to have retained Morgan Stanley and advisory firm Perella Weinberg to defend its interests in the event of an approach.

Analyst Ishaq Siddiq said such a deal could help revive Vodafone's struggling business. The company posted a worse than expected 1.8% decline in group revenues of £11.38bn for the last three months of 2012, blaming difficult market conditions in Europe.

Siddiq was also not surprised hear reports Vodafone was lining up a white knight in a potentially "hostile bid".

"It could get to a point where we see governments get involved," he told Sharecast.

Vodafone would need clearance from competition regulators who have blocked cable mergers over concerns about higher prices for consumers.

Siddiqi said an agreement will depend on how much money Vodafone was willing to put behind its offer for Kabel, which raised its dividend by 67% to €2.50.

Traders and investors at first saw Kabel's decision to raise its dividend as a move to ward off Vodafone.

"Kabel is in a pretty good position for premium offer," Siddiqi added.

Shares in Kabel recovered from a morning slump, up 0.63% to €68.43 at 15:22 while Vodafone dropped 1.54% to 160.00p.

RD

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