Liberty Global reaches deal to acquire Ziggo in the Netherlands

Jan. 27, 2014 at 12:15 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Media giant Liberty Global has agreed to buy Dutch service provider Ziggo in a tentative cash and stock deal, the company said.

The deal values Ziggo, which has 2.8 million cable, broadband and telephone subscribers, at about $13.7 billion. Given Liberty Global's previous attempts to negotiate a deal with Ziggo, the purchase represents a 22 percent premium over Ziggo's closing price at the end of October, when the public became aware a deal was in the offing.

The deal is dependent on regulator approval and may run up against resistance based on anti-trust concerns, the New York Times reported Monday.

The deal also hinges on Liberty Global's ability absorb 100 percent of the outstanding shares. Currently, Liberty Global, which is controlled by billionaire John Malone, owns 28.5 percent of Ziggo.

As Liberty Global also controls UPC Netherlands, the deal would extend the company's reach to include more than 90 percent of Dutch households, the Times said.

That would allow for significant streamlining, Liberty Global's Chief Executive Officer Michael Fries said.

The deal allows Liberty Global "to compete more effectively with the other national telecommunications and satellite platforms in the Netherlands, and at the same time generate significant revenue and operating efficiencies," Fries said.

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