Ziggo Gains After Liberty Global Raises Stake: Amsterdam Mover

Ziggo NV rose the most in more than four months in Amsterdam after John Malone’s Liberty Global Plc raised its stake in the Dutch cable television operator.

Ziggo advanced as much as 5.9 percent, the biggest gain since March 28. The shares traded up 3.4 percent at 28.89 euros as of 1:14 p.m., giving the company a market value of 5.78 billion euros ($7.67 billion).

Liberty Global bought 17.5 million additional shares in the Utrecht, Netherlands-based company in connection with a hedging transaction related to existing Ziggo shares, according to an SEC filing published July 26. The purchase was financed through a loan linked to the transaction that is secured by Ziggo shares. Liberty’s stake in Ziggo increased to 28.5 percent from 18.2 percent.

“We are however not surprised to see that Liberty Global is further increasing its stake in Ziggo as the synergy potential is substantial,” Emmanuel Carlier, a Brussels-based analyst at ING Groep NV, said in a note to investors today. Carlier has a hold recommendation on the stock.

Malone’s cable giant has been acquiring European assets to expand in the continent’s pay-TV market. The Englewood, Colorado-based company agreed this year to buy the U.K.’s Virgin Media Inc. for $16 billion. This month, Malone said he’s out of the race for Kabel Deutschland Holding AG and will look to southern Europe for opportunities when the economy there starts improving.

Liberty raised its holding in Ziggo for strategic reasons, Amsterdam-based spokesman Bert Holtkamp said by telephone July 27. He declined to comment on whether Liberty Global plans to increase its holding further.

Liberty’s UPC Netherlands also provides cable-TV services in the country, operating in regions where Ziggo isn’t present.

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