- The battle for supremacy in the cable television market in the UK intensified this week as Telewest prepared to buy two of its smaller rivals.
Telewest announced on Sunday that talks between itself and French owned General Cable are at an advanced stage.
In addition it is understood to be seeking to take up its option to buy rival Comcast's stakes in Cable London and Birmingham Cable.
If the deals go through, the UK cable industry will be dominated by three main power blocks: Telewest, NTL and Cable & Wireless Communications. The deals will also mean that Telewest will return to the number one position.
Telewest, which is owned by US firms US West Tele-Communications, South Western Bell and Cox Communications, was the UK's number one cable company until Cable & Wireless merged its Mercury Communications arm last year with three UK cable companies: Videotron, Nynex and Bell Cablemedia.
Under the terms of the talks, Telewest has to make a firm offer on or before 15 April for General Cable to its owner, Compagnie Generale des Eaux. Telewest would pay around 182.5 pence in cash and shares for every General Cable share.