Ziggo Rejects Liberty Takeover Bid

Liberty Global's efforts to acquire Dutch cable operator Ziggo have fallen flat.

Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video

October 17, 2013

2 Min Read
Ziggo Rejects Liberty Takeover Bid

Liberty Global's attempt to acquire Ziggo, the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, has been spurned by the Dutch company, which rejected the offer as inadequate.

Ziggo B.V. issued a statement late Wednesday noting that it has "received a preliminary proposal regarding a potential offer for the company by Liberty Global," but that the "potential offer was considered inadequate and there is no certainty that Ziggo will receive any revised offer."

Ziggo, which has a market value of €6.24 billion (US$8.5 billion), has seen its share price rise by more than 8 percent during the past week following speculation about a potential bid, but following the rejection announcement the operator's share price slid back by 2.2 percent on the Amsterdam exchange Thursday morning to €30.50. The operator is due to announce its third-quarter financial results Friday.

Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) already holds a 28.5 percent stake in the Dutch cable provider, and CEO Mike Fries told Reuters last week that he was content with that position. News of a bid appears to refute that claim, however, as does a report by the German publication Manager Magazin stating that Liberty has plans to merge Ziggo with fellow operator UPC in the Netherlands and with Belgian firm Telenet.

Liberty has already made it clear that it intends to consolidate power globally through acquisition. The company bought Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) in February for $23.3 million in cash and stock to become the world's largest cable operator by subscriber count. It also spent $2.6 billion to take a 27 percent stake in Charter Communications Inc. , giving Malone a triumphant return to the US market. (See Liberty Puts Up $2.6B for 27% Stake in Charter and Behind Cable's Urge to Merge.)

Cable kingpin and Liberty Global chairman John Malone would like to add Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) to his growing operator portfolio, but so far, the second-largest cable company in the US has resisted Liberty's overtures.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable

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About the Author(s)

Mari Silbey

Senior Editor, Cable/Video

Mari Silbey is a senior editor covering broadband infrastructure, video delivery, smart cities and all things cable. Previously, she worked independently for nearly a decade, contributing to trade publications, authoring custom research reports and consulting for a variety of corporate and association clients. Among her storied (and sometimes dubious) achievements, Mari launched the corporate blog for Motorola's Home division way back in 2007, ran a content development program for Limelight Networks and did her best to entertain the video nerd masses as a long-time columnist for the media blog Zatz Not Funny. She is based in Washington, D.C.

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