US cable group to buy Virgin Media

US cable group Liberty Global has agreed to buy Virgin Media.

The international company, headed up by billionaire John Malone, will buy Virgin Media in a cash and stock deal said to be worth around £15 billion. The deal is subject to shareholder approval and any subsequent approval needed by authorities both in Britain and the United States.

The announcement follows yesterday’s rise in Virgin Media’s share price by 18% after Liberty Global said they were looking to buy the UK cable company.

The American company is looking to expand its services across Europe and the rest of the world. It claims to be active in 13 countries with over 21,000 employees. Liberty Global’s consumer brands include UPC, Unitymedia, Kabel BW, Telenet, and VTR.

“Virgin Media will add significant scale and a first-class management team in Europe’s largest and most dynamic media and communications market. After the deal, roughly 80% of Liberty Global’s revenue will come from just five attractive and strong countries – the UK, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.” – Mike Fries, President and CEO of Liberty Global

This will see Malone go head-to-head with old rival Rupert Murdoch, who has a 39% share in British Sky Broadcasting, the biggest pay-TV company in the UK. Liberty Global has said the deal will see the company have 25 million customers across 14 countries.

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