A high level financial panel at Cable Congress provided views on how cable has weathered the financial storm and plans future consolidation.

Cable executives and shareholders discussed the cable sector’s readiness for significant investor activity in 2010 as equity investors look to make good on investments and secure buyers within the trade. Leading the way, Providence Equity suggested that an IPO for Kabel Deutschland was imminent.

Other activity is being predicted for Germany, Benelux and CEE. Financial ownership on the horizon is likely to change, providing new investment opportunities in the cable industry.

“Germany is heavily regulated but it does not distort the investment opportunities, it distorts consolidation,” said John Hahn, managing director, Providence Equity Partners.

Newly re-elected Cable Europe President Manuel Kohnstamm, said, “Fragmentation remains a problem. We will keep pressing in our discussions with regulators and competition authorities. We compete with other distribution platforms and telecom operators who have national scale, some of whom have enjoyed decades of government support.”

Shane O’Neill, chief strategy officer at Liberty Global, said, “It’s a great time to be in the cable industry. We have two key differentiators, DOCSIS (3.0) allowing 50 Mbps and above, which telcos cannot match, as well as catch-up and on demand TV, which satellite can’t do. Cable has a strong growth story to tell.”?

Summing up the investor session, Bloomberg News’ John Dawson concluded: “This is the only industry I’ve heard about this year that has growth in it.”

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