It is reckoned the group is being led by US buyout firm Providence and includes fellow US firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Blackstone, and Britain’s Cinven.
Apparently company heads have already been in talks about share price offers with a possible £10.5 billion buyout deal, making it Europe’s biggest leveraged buyout. Although it is thought most shareholders will hold out for £17 per share, the Virgin Group, with a 10.5% share, are not happy with the timing so soon after the merger.
NTL and Virgin only completed the merger last month, making Sir Richard Branson the cable company’s biggest shareholder and giving him a seat on its board.
Rumours abound that Branson could possibly hold out for as much as £21 per share, valuing the company at £12.4 billion.
The bid approach comes as private equity consortiums have raised billions of pounds and are aggressively competing in increasingly larger deals, with cable companies a favourite target.