Patience you must have, says Voda: Biz in talks with Liberty Global for grabbing Euro assets

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Two ISPs mull tie-up

By Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco

Posted in Networks, 2nd February 2018 23:23 GMT

Brit-based comms colossus Vodafone is mulling snapping up wedges of European networks owned by American telecoms giant Liberty Global.

You may recall Voda and Liberty from such films as: Dial M for Merger, and The Erotic Adventures of Two Communications Goliaths. There have been rumors floating around since 2015 that the two multinationals are considering some sort of serious tie-up, however, the discussions have mostly led nowhere concrete.

Vodafone is the world’s second-largest mobile carrier in terms of subscriber numbers, and is headquartered in London, UK. It provides internet services in Blighty and the rest of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Liberty is the Denver-based US cable king that owns broadband provider Virgin Media in the UK as well as ISPs in about a dozen other nations in Europe, from Belgium and Hungary to Ireland, Germany, and Switzerland.

The pair have a $3.7bn joint venture in the Netherlands, and it was speculated at one point that other parts of Liberty's Euro operations – such as its German wing – could be swapped for Voda's UK network.

Today, it was reported Vodafone and Liberty are back in talks again, possibly with Voda splashing roughly €14bn or more to buy large chunks of Liberty's European networks.

In a statement on late on Friday, Vodafone said some kind of deal is being hashed out, although nothing is set in stone:

Vodafone confirms that it is in early stage discussions with Liberty Global regarding the potential acquisition of certain overlapping continental European assets owned by Liberty Global.

There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor as to the terms, timing or form of any transaction.

Vodafone is not in discussion with Liberty Global regarding a combination of both companies.

Those overlapping assets are in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania, meaning Voda is angling to buy Liberty's networks in those countries, it appears.

Liberty declined to comment. Both corporations' stock rose a few per cent on the news. ®

PS: In other news, Oregon and California cableco Wave has formally complained to US watchdog the FCC that it was strong-armed into paying "a punitive ransom totaling nearly $3.5 million" to rival Comcast to carry Comcast-owned regional TV sports.

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily


More from The Register

Vodafone is UK's mobile ping king

It's not all about speed

Ofcom to probe Three and Vodafone over network throttling

Telcos may have breached EU net neutrality rules

Vittorio Colao to say ciao to Vodafone as firm goes back to black

Voda UK remains 'sick man of Europe', though – analyst

Brit market harshing Vodafone's buzz as sales slump continues

Dutch spin-off to Liberty Global also singled out as party pooper

Vodafone's NBN plans may include voice-over-WiFi, virtual landlines

Carrier already this overseas, seeks Oz punters' opinions on 'NBN extras' plan, name

Vodafone boasts 200Mbps with 4G mini mast in Cornish trial

More kit to boost connectivity in rural UK

Vodafone's drone tracker system intrigues but stays short on detail

+Comment Network strategy head reveals more in interview

Vodafone reports sliding revenues but customers don't hate them as much

And India still a mighty struggle

We've built a 4G drone tracking system, beams Vodafone

And how is sir implementing that geofencing idea?

Vodafone signs deal with CityFibre to connect 5 million homes with full fibre

Project up to eight years with broadband minnow