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Liberty Global buys Virgin Media

Teleseeq Interactive Dataroom
Published: 2013-03-06

Liberty Global, Inc. (LGI), the international cable company, agreed to buy the British company Virgin Media, the second largest British pay-TV operator according to subscribers, for about USD 23.3 bn. LGI, which is not currently present in the UK, offers CaTV, broadband internet and fixed telephony services in several countries in Europe as well as outside Europe — in Chile, Puerto Rico and the US. The acquisition of Virgin Media is just the latest move of a series of buyouts the LGI has carried in the EU to further strengthen its subscriber base in the Region. LGI has already raised its stake in the Belgian cable operator Telenet Group Holding NV TNET, acquired Germany’s Kabel BW (December 2011) as well as Aster in Poland (September 2011). If the deal is approved, KGI will see a new structure of its operations, with about 80% of its group revenues originating from the European regions, with additional operations also in Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Upon approval, Liberty Global is expected to be the second top pay-TV group in the world, according to InfoCom's Top-10 rankings, a jump from 3rd place overtaking Comcast. Liberty Global will also jump to 7th place among the top broadband groups in the world from 10th place surpassing Telecom Italia Group, Time Warner Cable Inc. and AT&T Inc. Group.

Liberty Global plans to invest in Virgin Media’s broadband network, and plans to take the role of main challenger of the local pay-TV market leader, British Sky Broadcasting Group. BskyB had a market share of around 57% of the pay-TV market and about 19% of the fixed broadband (3Q12), compared to Virgin Media, accounting for about 22% and 19%, respectively. The acquisition has also operational rationale as LGI expects significant operating and capex synergies upon full integration, as well as a new acceleration of its own strategy towards the business segment through new product expertise, particularly in mobile and B2B. Synergies are expected through the integration of Chellomedia, LGI’s European content division, media company and distributor of channels (37 of which are 100% owned), contents and video services, which is already headquartered in London.

Published: 2013-03-06

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