Virgin Media confirms merger talks
Virgin Media, the UK's second- largest pay-television provider, has confirmed that it is in talks with Liberty Global, the John Malone-owned company. The two companies are in discussions "concerning a possible transaction," Virgin Media said today in a statement, without providing details.
A deal would be subject to regulatory and other conditions, the company said. A deal would also open a new battle ground between Malone and fellow billionaire Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp controls the largest UK pay-TV provider, British Sky Broadcasting Group. UPC is the European division of Liberty Global.
Virgin Media has a market value of $10.4 billion (€7.7bn) at yesterday's closing price, and an enterprise value of £12.3 billion (€14.2bn) pounds.
Virgin Media fell 2.4 per cent to $38.69 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday. Malone's company has been working to expand in Europe. Liberty's bid for Belgium's Telenet Group Holding NV fell through last month after investors rejected a €2 billion offer.
Shareholders with 8.4 per cent of outstanding shares accepted the tender, which expired on January 11th, bringing Liberty's stake in the cable operator to about 58 per cent, the company said.
Virgin Media has been making its internet service, advertised by runners Usain Bolt and Mo Farah, more attractive for customers by increasing Web speeds. The company will report fourth-quarter results tomorrow.