LONDON (CNNfn) - Mannesmann, the German telecom service provider, has joined the bidding to acquire Cablecom, the leading cable operator in Switzerland.
A Mannesmann spokesman confirmed to CNNfn.com the company has made a bid for Cablecom, but wouldn't say how much it had offered or when the results of the auction would be announced.
The bid is the latest in Mannesmann's drive to become a major player in Europe's telecommunications market.
The sale is scheduled to be finalized by the end of the year.
Mannesmann is also in talks to buy U.K. cellular operator Orange (ORA) in a deal that could be worth up to $30 billion and would make it one of Europe's biggest cell-phone operators.
Cablecom was put up for auction in the summer by joint owners Swisscom, the Swiss telephone monopoly, German utility Veba (FVEB) and electrical manufacturer Siemens (FSIE).
The other confirmed bidders for Cablecom are France Telecom (PFTE) and Dutch cable operator UPC.
The Financial Times reported Wednesday that Cablecom could be worth up to $3 billion.
Mannesmann, formerly an engineering company, is splitting itself in two to better concentrate on its fast-growing telecom activities. The group is Germany's number-one cellular service provider, and number two in Italy through its Omnitel subsidiary. Mannesmann is also the number-two fixed-line player in Germany, after state-owned Deutsche Telekom (FDTE).