Feeds

Cable Cowboy lassoes Virgin Media with HUGE £15bn deal

John Malone to be new sheriff in town as Neil Berkett quits

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The world's second biggest cable company - Liberty Global - has confirmed its plans to buy British ISP Virgin Media for $23bn (£15bn), after the telco said on Tuesday it was in talks with the corporation run by American billionaire John Malone.

That stock and cash deal, which would gift Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Global with the “the world’s leading broadband communications company” - with 25 million subscribers to its television, broadband and telephony products across 14 countries - is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.

Virgin Media shareholders can expect to receive $17.50 in cash, 0.2582 Liberty Global Series A shares and 0.1928 Liberty Global Series C shares for each VM share they hold, the telco said.

Liberty Global will pay $47.87 per Virgin Media share - a 24 per cent premium on the company's closing price on 4 February.

Virgin Media, which has more than 5 million subscribers on its books, is to retain its brand under the proposed acquisition with the deal expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

The move also means Malone - who is known as the Cable Cowboy - will be butting heads with British pay-TV giant BSkyB, which is more than 39 per cent owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The two men have form, tussling over Murdoch's News Corp a decade ago when Malone's Liberty Media tried to take control of the US satellite television broadcaster DirecTV Group.

At that point, Malone's company had a significant but not controlling stake in News Corp of 16 per cent and the Cable Cowboy had been critical of Murdoch's "empire building".

An $11bn asset swap between the two doused the fiery spat - with Murdoch grabbing the shares in NewsCorp that Liberty had acquired in exchange for handing Liberty a controlling interest in DirecTV.

The merger announcement came on the same day that Virgin Media reported its results to the City. Net income for the full year hit £2.8bn compared with £75.9m in 2011, while total revenue in 2012 grew 2.7 per cent to £4.1bn.

Meanwhile, Virgin Media's CEO Neil Berkett - who already appeared to hint at his exit in a reflective statement about Liberty Global's planned merger - has confirmed he will leave the company once the deal is completed. He said: "I am not a very good number two." ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.