The acquisition of UK cable company Telewest by larger rival NTL is being held up by wrangling over price and is not likely to be announced until the autumn, sources claimed yesterday.
"It takes a long time as it's complicated. People were saying August but I don't think we'll hear anything until the summer's over," one of the sources said, adding that an announcement could slip to October.
Telewest and NTL began talks in June over a potential deal that would create a dominant UK cable company with a market capitalisation of about $10 billion (£5.5 billion).
Because of NTL's bigger size, analysts and bankers say the deal will likely be a takeover of Telewest, but the talks have stalled over issues such as price and taxation.
"It's a very sensitive process and the valuation issues are complicated," noted one observor.
At the centre of the talks is US distressed-asset fund WR Huff Asset Management, headed by New Jersey-based hedge fund manager William Huff, which controls stakes in both companies. The sources said Mr Huff wants a merger of the two and is keen to sell but wants the right price.