Leading UK cable operators Telewest and NTL are expected to begin merger talks early next year.

The Guardian reports that investors in the companies have informed that publication of this, with one describing the decision as "making perfect sense".

Neither company has issued any official comment on the plans. Both firms are described as "struggling under a mountain of debt following the installation of a cable network in the UK and subsequent operational mismanagement".

Investors describe the final merged company as being likely to reflect a 60:40 NTL: Telewest split.