Liberty Global acquires Virgin Media for $23.3 billion

MUMBAI: American billionaire John C Malone‘s Liberty Global has agreed to acquire Virgin Media in a stock and cash deal valued at approximately $23.3 billion.

The implied purchase price, before taking into account transaction costs and other expenses, represents an equity value of approximately $16 billion and an enterprise value of approximately $23.3 billion.

The acquisition will lead to the creation of world’s leading broadband communications company, covering 47 million homes and serving 25 million customers across 14 countries, Liberty Global said in a statement.

Complementary strengths across product suite, with aligned triple-play products, road-map and expertise across digital TV, broadband and telephony services. Mobility and B2B expertise offer significant additional growth potential in key markets, it added.
Liberty Global President and CEO Mike Fries said, “Adding Virgin Media to our large and growing European operations is a natural extension of the value creation strategy we‘ve been successfully using for over seven years. 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."

"Like all of our strategic acquisitions we expect this combination to yield meaningful operating and capex synergies of approximately $180 million per year upon full integration. But just as importantly, Virgin Media‘s market leading innovation and product expertise, particularly in mobile and B2B, will accelerate our own development of these business segments."

"For these and other reasons, Virgin Media will be complementary to our own organic revenue and OCF growth profile, while providing attractive free cash flow enhancement to our shareholders. As a result, we intend to increase our commitment to share buybacks going forward with an initial target of approximately $3.5 billion over a two-year period upon closing."

Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett said: “Over the past six years, Virgin Media has transformed the digital experience of millions of customers, catalyzed a deep-rooted change in the UK’s digital landscape and delivered impressive growth and returns for our shareholders. I’m confident that this deal will help us to build on this legacy. Virgin Media and Liberty Global have a shared ambition, focus on operational excellence and commitment to driving shareholder value. The combined company will be able to grow faster and deliver enhanced returns by capitalizing on the exciting opportunities that the digital revolution presents, both in the UK and across Europe.”

As part of its acquisition of Virgin Media, Liberty Global will redomicile from Delaware to the United Kingdom by becoming a subsidiary of a new holding company, a UK plc. Liberty Global’s current headquarters and other principal offices will remain in place. Liberty Global will be listed on NASDAQ and will continue to report earnings and other financial statements in accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, including dollar denominated financial statements.

Liberty Global’s Board of Directors will continue to form the board of Liberty Global, with the addition of one Virgin Media director to be named prior to the closing.

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