Virgin Media in Talks for Transaction With Liberty Global
Virgin Media Inc. (VMED), the U.K.’s second- largest pay-television provider, confirmed it is in talks with Liberty Global Inc. (LBTYA) after a report that it may get acquired by 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.
Liberty Global is preparing to make a bid for Virgin Media, the Financial Times reported today, citing people familiar with the situation. Virgin Media has a market value of $10.4 billion at yesterday’s closing price, and an enterprise value of 12.3 billion pounds ($19.3 billion), based on Bloomberg data.
Virgin Media fell 2.4 percent to $38.69 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday. The Hook, England-based company’s stock had gained 59 percent in the 12 months before today. The company is also traded in London.
Malone’s company has been working to expand in Europe. Liberty’s bid for Belgium’s Telenet Group Holding NV (TNET) fell through last month after investors rejected a 2 billion-euro ($2.69 billion) offer. Shareholders with 8.4 percent of outstanding shares accepted the tender, which expired on Jan. 11, bringing Liberty’s stake in the cable operator to about 58 percent, the company said Jan. 14.
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.
Bert Holtkamp, a Liberty Global spokesman based near Amsterdam, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. Virgin Media officials declined to comment beyond the company’s statement.
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