Feeds

Cable Cowboy lassoes Virgin Media with HUGE £15bn deal

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.