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Vodafone wins backing for takeover of German cable company

Vodafone has won shareholder backing which paves the way for its takeover of Germany's largest cable company. Kabel Deutschland has 7.6 million cable subscribers.

British telecommunications company Vodafone won backing from 75 percent of Kabel Deutschland's shareholders on Thursday night. The way is now open for its 7.7 billion euro ($10.25 billion) takeover of the German cable company.

Vodafone is the largest mobile network in Germany with 32 million subscribers. It wants to offer more television and fixed-line services in Germany, its largest European mobile market.

The acquisition is a key part of Vodafone's strategy to counter declining revenues by selling mobile phone subscriptions alongside television, home telephone and broadband services.

Following the sale of its 45 percent stake in the US' largest mobile phone network, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone will have a 35.6-billion-euros war chest with which to pay down debt, improve its networks and fund further takeover deals.

Vodafone said Kabel Deutschland shareholders who had not accepted the offer yet may be given an additional chance to do so between September 17 and September 30. Vodafone said it would publish details on Monday of the number of shares tendered.

The deal also has to be approved by European commission regulators.

The announcement came as Vodafone's German mobile business was dealing with the consequences of the theft of the names, addresses and bank account numbers of two million customers by a computer hacker.

jm/lw (Reuters, dpa)