By early 1999, NTL was the third-largest and fastest-growing cable TV and telephony company in the UK, measured by homes under franchise; only Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) and Telewest were larger. CWC's parent wanted to exit the industry, and was in advanced negotiations with Telewest. NTL's Chief Executive, Barclay Knapp, stepped in the moment they stalled, and immediately offered CWC the same terms at which Telewest had baulked. The £8.2b deal placed NTL definitively at the centre of cable consolidation in the UK. The (A) case examines NTL's acquisition strategy and the process leading up to the deal. The (B) examines the process of acquisition integration.
The case provides a vehicle for a rich discussion of acquisition strategy, the acquisition process and the subsequent post-acquisition integration in the context of a fast-changing, capital intensive industry seen by many as offering enormous future opportunity. More specifically, it can be used to explore: • The acquisition in the context of the company’s strategy • The potential and pitfalls of “strategic assembly” • The dynamics of making the deal happen and getting regulatory approval • The tensions between “selling the deal to the financial markets and analysts” and the strategy • Different views inside the company about the acquisition and its potential • The impact of regulatory delay and the seller’s motives on integration planning • The realities of implementing an integration plan • The impact of changes in the external environment on the acquisition process