Liberty Global to Expand European Businesses With Content

Liberty Global Plc says its German, U.K. and Dutch businesses have room to grow and the international cable company controlled by billionaire John Malone will push further into making TV shows.

It sees opportunities in sports programs, free-to-air channels, Internet streaming and TV production, Co-Chief Financial Officer Charles Bracken said in Barcelona today at a conference organized by Morgan Stanley.

“In the next phase of our evolution, content will play an important role in monetizing the value of our distribution networks,” Bracken said.

The London-based cable company, which owns operations from Hungary to the U.K., has been expanding into TV production and programs to fuel growth as the number of cable acquisition targets on the continent dwindles. In the past six months it bought a 6.4 percent stake in ITV Plc, the U.K.’s biggest commercial broadcaster with top-rated shows like “Downton Abbey,” and teamed up with Discovery Communications Inc. to buy TV production house All3Media.

Bracken said today that Liberty Global has no intention of buying the rest of ITV.

Liberty Global, which this month completed a tender offer for Dutch cable company Ziggo NV, can do better on synergies there, Bracken said. It can also squeeze more growth from its Virgin Media Inc. cable operation in the U.K. and at Unitymedia KabelBW GmbH in Germany, he said.

Third-quarter revenue climbed 5.2 percent to $4.5 billion as Liberty Global provided 49.2 million subscription services, an increase from 47.8 million a year earlier, the company said on Nov. 5.

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