updated 9/30/2005 9:46:15 AM ET 2005-09-30T13:46:15

Liberty Global Inc., which owns cable television operations in more than a dozen European markets, said Friday it has agreed to acquire Cablecom Holdings AG, Switzerland's largest broadband cable operator, for about $2.19 billion in cash.

Liberty Global is buying Cablecom from a shareholder group is led by Apollo Management, TowerBrook Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs affiliates.

Cablecom, which has more than 2 million video, voice and data subscribers, had previously planned an initial public offering with a price range of about $2.2 billion to $2.7 billion.

Liberty Global expects to close the deal in October, and said the purchase will make it the largest broadband cable operator in 11 of its 14 European markets.

"Continued expansion of our footprint in Europe is a core strategic objective," said Mike Fries, Liberty Global president and chief executive, in a statement. "With 80 percent video penetration, limited satellite and data competition, and strong operating cash flow, Cablecom fits perfectly into our long-range growth plans."

Liberty Global said the acquisition will be financed largely with funds coming from new subordinated debt, a senior note offering and cash. The company was advised by JPMorgan and UBS for the transaction.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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