Liberty Global, Vodafone talk merger deal
Vodafone and Liberty Global, both based in London, are discussing possible transactions which include a merger, reports Bloomberg Business. A merger between the two companies would be another step in the growing consolidation in the telecommunications industry.
Liberty Global has a European headquarter in Utrecht. It is the owner of Ziggo in the Netherlands, which became the country's largest cable provider after it was merged with sister firm UPC Nederland, headquartered in Amsterdam. The firm owns television channels Film 1 and Sport 1, and has partial ownership of HBO Netherlands.
In an attempt to maintain the level of profits, phone companies attempt acquisitions to expand while, due to low interest rates, they can borrow inexpensively. Through the merger, Liberty Global would diversify its portfolio with wireless assets to complement its current cable services, such as landline phone, broadband internet and TV.
CEO of Liberty Global, John Malone, told Bloomberg that a merger with Vodafone would be a good fit for the company's cable operations in western Europe. He said the merger would be beneficial for the company's German, British and Dutch markets.
Vodafone replied to media reports by saying they are discussing a possible exchange of assets, but a full-fledged merger is not part of the discussions.
The talks are informal and in their early stage, according to Bloomberg. An agreement would be difficult to reach due to managerial complexity of the transactions. There is also potential legal complexity regarding regulatory issues.