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Liberty Global, Inc.NASDAQ
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  • Wed, Nov. 16, 6:28 PM
    • After its attempt at bigger collaboration in Europe failed last winter, Vodafone (VOD +0.4%) says continental regulators might look more favorably on a deal it could arrive at with Liberty Global (LBTYA +3%) now.
    • "The European Commission has clearly indicated that they like the idea of stronger competitors to former incumbents," CEO Vittorio Colao said at Morgan Stanley's conference in Barcelona.
    • The two companies agreed in February to merge their Dutch operations via a joint venture; that followed the breakdown of talks over a bigger European asset swap last fall.
    • Despite that, many analysts say the reasoning behind getting the two together is still there. And Colao says incumbent telecoms are still powerful.
    • "They see that in each country there is a KPN, a Telecom Italia, a Deutsche Telekom, a BT, that are at the end of the day still incredibly, I would not want to use the word dominant, but let's say influential. And you want a counter force, and we could be that counter force," he said.
    | Wed, Nov. 16, 6:28 PM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 6:43 PM
    • Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) is shoring up its lead in Poland, sealing a $760M cash deal to take over the cable business of Multimedia Polska.
    • Multimedia Polska is the No. 3 cable provider in the country, and adding it brings the reach of Liberty's UPC Poland to more than 4M homes and businesses.
    • UPC Poland had passed 3.1M homes (about 20% of households) at the end of June, while Multimedia had passed 1.6M homes. Poland made up 2.2% of Liberty Global's 2015 sales.
    • The deal's expected to close in the next 12 months.
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 6:43 PM
  • Fri, Jul. 29, 12:55 PM
    • Europe is set to sign off on a high-profile merger of Dutch operations between Liberty Global (LBTYA +0.7%) and Vodafone (VOD +0.4%) following some concessions, Reuters reports.
    • That news is coming despite a tough regulatory regime that has scratched potential country mergers elsewhere, including a deal in Denmark between TeliaSonera and Telenor.
    • Liberty and Vodafone offered concessions July 12 to get the deal done, sources told Reuters.
    • The two would form the second-biggest telecom in the Netherlands and present a better competitive face to incumbent Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY).
    | Fri, Jul. 29, 12:55 PM | 2 Comments
  • Tue, Mar. 1, 4:58 PM
    • Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) is headed to a closed-door meeting with EU regulators to address objections to its £10.3B deal to buy out rival telecom O2 (TEF +4.3%), Reuters reports.
    • The company will meet with the European Commission on March 7, along with rivals Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY +2.4%), Virgin Media (LBTYA +2.8%), TalkTalk (OTC:TKTCY), Vodafone (VOD +3.1%) and BT Group (BT +3.4%). Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY +2.5%), the small provider owned by French billionaire Xavier Niel, could also take part.
    • The long-in-the-works deal has generated plenty of heat, as the combination of Hutchison's Three UK (the country's No. 4 wireless provider) with Telefonica's O2 (the No. 2 provider) would create the country's largest, reducing the market to three major competitors.
    • When the EC opened a full probe into the deal in October, the move suggested that heavy concessions were likely on the way to make the deal happen -- and they may include creating a smaller competitor. (TalkTalk has said it would love to help.)
    • The UK tried to take over the probe, but the EC rejected that request and kept control of the deal investigation in early December.
    • After hours: TEF -4.2%; LBTYA, VOD, BT flat.
    • Previously: Europe rejects UK's effort to examine Three's O2 buyout (Dec. 04 2015)
    • Previously: Europe opens full probe into Telefonica-Hutchison UK mobile merger (Oct. 30 2015)
    | Tue, Mar. 1, 4:58 PM
  • Tue, Feb. 16, 1:03 AM
    • Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) are merging Dutch operations in a joint venture, in a bit of an appetizer before what could be a broader combination of operations in the future.
    • It's a big appetizer, though -- the 50/50 venture is valued at more than €19B -- and the companies said discussions around the Netherlands venture haven't ranged into any other areas.
    • The venture will sell mobile and cable under both companies' brands (Ziggo and Vodafone), and Vodafone will pay €1B as part of the deal to equalize their ownership.
    • It will have more than 15M revenue-generating units, and the companies expect after the deal closes later this year that they'll see cost and revenue synergies of €3.5B (and €350M in integration costs).
    | Tue, Feb. 16, 1:03 AM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Feb. 2, 9:49 AM
    • Vodafone (VOD -2%) and Liberty Global (LBTYA -0.5%) are back and talking about possible asset swaps again, after talks about trades in Europe (and maybe a merger?) fell apart last year, Bloomberg reports.
    • Sources said the talks restarted since the beginning of 2016 and could include asset swaps and co-investments in "several" European countries.
    • Again, though, talks are likely to center on the Netherlands (where Liberty wants to grow) and the UK and Germany, the largest markets for the two.
    • After gaining earlier in London, shares are down 1.6% there and ADRs are off 2% on a day where the broader U.S. market is off to a rough start.
    | Tue, Feb. 2, 9:49 AM | 2 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 20, 11:36 AM
    • The EU is set to approve the €1.3B takeover of KPN's (OTCPK:KKPNY -2.2%) Belgian telecom unit by Liberty Global (LBTYA -2.8%), after some divestments to clear the deal, Reuters reports.
    • The approval would mean the first telecom merger OK'd by Margrethe Vestager, the European Competition Commissioner, since the EC squashed TeliaSonera and Telenor's plan to merge their Danish units.
    • Liberty's Telenet unit has been pursuing KPN's Base over the past year. The combination would be slightly behind market leader Proximus and comparable in size to Mobistar (controlled by Orange).
    • To facilitate the deal, Telenet will sell all the customers from Base's JIM Mobile brand to rival Medialaan, along with its 50% stake in another brand (Mobile Viking) -- with the longer-term picture showing Medialaan as an MVNO on the Base network.
    • Previously: Liberty Global unit selling customers to pursue OK for Belgian takeover (Nov. 20 2015)
    • Previously: EU regulators extend probe into Liberty Global-KPN Belgian deal (Nov. 03 2015)
    | Wed, Jan. 20, 11:36 AM
  • Fri, Jan. 15, 7:18 PM
    • Telefonica (TEF -3.5%) is expressing interest in buying Latin American assets from AT&T (T -0.9%) that could come to $10B in value, Reuters reports.
    • AT&T acquired the pay TV assets in its acquisition of DirecTV last year, and CEO Randall Stephenson said in December that the company would consider selling them but was in "no rush" and would be patient.
    • A source told Reuters that other parties were interested in specific country assets -- AT&T acquired services in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina among other countries -- so AT&T could run multiple sale processes and deal with a company like Liberty Global (LBTYA -4.7%).
    • Meanwhile, Telefonica has been making portfolio changes but against some €50B in debt (about $54B). It's looking to sell Spanish infrastructure and agreed to sell its O2 business in the UK to CK Hutchison holdings for $15B.
    | Fri, Jan. 15, 7:18 PM | 4 Comments
  • Dec. 31, 2015, 9:41 AM
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is up 1.5% in early going, and Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) up 2.8%, after the Daily Mail covered chatter about a large tie-up to come early in the new year.
    • "Apparently corporate financiers have been working long hours over the festive period" on a potential £140B merger between the two, Geoff Foster writes -- though a much discussed asset swap is still more likely, and all talks fizzled out a few months back.
    • Dealers are saying that Liberty's John Malone is pursuing new talks and the companies are getting favorable nods from major investors for a friendly deal, Foster says.
    • Previous deal coverage
    | Dec. 31, 2015, 9:41 AM | 3 Comments
  • Nov. 24, 2015, 6:16 PM
    • Liberty Global (LBTYA -1.8%) can see more expansion coming in Europe, but the company won't pursue growth for growth's sake, says chief Mike Fries.
    • “We’re not motivated by building empires,” Fries says. “We’re motivated by creating value.”
    • Yet as empire-building goes, the company is taking on Caribbean-focused Cable & Wireless (OTCPK:CWIXF) for $8B (including debt), one of well over a dozen $1B-plus acquisitions the company has completed over the past 20 years, with an accumulation of debt to go with that.
    • Its equation could have changed entirely with talks over a massive combination with Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) -- before they turned into talks over an asset swap and ultimately fizzled. "We never say never," says Fries, "but there is nothing happening at the moment."
    • And while John Malone (who holds 24% of voting rights) is known for big dealings, Fries says he leaves the company to pursue its course: “I’ve been chief executive for 10 years and everything we’ve done has been self-created. We have the benefit of [Malone’s] strategic insight and guidance but he is not a puppeteer.”
    • Previously: Liberty Global unit selling customers to pursue OK for Belgian takeover (Nov. 20 2015)
    • Previously: Malone tripling stake in Lions Gate through Discovery, Liberty Global (Nov. 10 2015)
    | Nov. 24, 2015, 6:16 PM
  • Nov. 16, 2015, 2:19 PM
    • Liberty Global (LBTYA -1.7%) agrees to acquire Caribbean cable operator Cable & Wireless Communications (OTCPK:CWIXF +26.8%) in a cash and stock deal valued at $5.3B, extending John Malone’s European cable empire deeper into Latin America.
    • The stock offer is valued at 78.04 pence/share, a 6% premium to Cable & Wireless's Monday closing price of 73.54 pence in London; including a special dividend to be paid when the deal closes, total consideration comes to 81.04 pence/share, which Liberty Global says represents a 40% premium to Cable & Wireless' closing share price on Oct. 21, the day reports stated the companies were in talks.
    • The purchase would give Malone a critical mass in Latin America, where he created the LiLAC (LILAK +2.2%) tracking stock in July for Liberty Global’s assets in Chile and Puerto Rico.
    | Nov. 16, 2015, 2:19 PM
  • Nov. 11, 2015, 11:14 AM
    • Private-equity firms are lining up bids for Deutsche Telekom's (OTCQX:DTEGY +1.2%) unit in the Netherlands, with Apax and CVC getting close to final offers, Reuters reports.
    • Bain Capital and Providence are also expected to get involved. The division could be valued at up to €3B.
    • P-E firms may have the inside line on bidding; Xavier Niel's Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY) or Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) could get involved, though Liberty already competes in the Netherlands with its Ziggo unit and is currently pursuing a purchase of Belgium's Base.
    • DT's operation is behind competitors KPN and Vodafone in the Dutch market.
    | Nov. 11, 2015, 11:14 AM
  • Nov. 3, 2015, 11:02 AM
    | Nov. 3, 2015, 11:02 AM
  • Oct. 28, 2015, 10:23 AM
    | Oct. 28, 2015, 10:23 AM
  • Oct. 9, 2015, 10:06 AM
    • BT Group (BT -0.6%) is keeping up the pressure in its response to a strategic review by UK telecom regulator Ofcom, saying that there's no case for divesting its Openreach wholesale access business -- a move it says would hurt the UK's "digital health" -- and pointing regulators instead toward the dominance of pay-TV rival Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY -0.9%).
    • The regulator is conducting its first strategic review of the sector in 10 years amid some key and rapid change.
    • BT in February agreed to a $19B acquisition of EE, the UK's top mobile firm, raising vocal calls from competitors (especially Vodafone) over network access. Liberty Global (LBTYA +0.3%) and Vodafone (VOD +0.3%) discussed -- and then dropped -- a merger or asset swap in Europe. And the UK's second- and fourth-largest mobile firms are pursuing a $15.7B merger.
    • This summer, a determined BT CEO Gavin Patterson threatened the specter of a decade of litigation over Openreach if the company were forced to unload it. Now it says that the existing "functional separation" of its units has served the UK "exceptionally well over the past decade."
    • Elsewhere, Citigroup today reiterated its Neutral rating on BT Group.
    • Previously: BT Group up as Societe Generale reiterates Buy rating (Sep. 23 2015)
    • Previously: BT Group recommits to 10M homes with ultrafast broadband by 2020 (Sep. 22 2015)
    • Previously: Vodafone, rivals renew call for BT Openreach split (Sep. 21 2015)
    | Oct. 9, 2015, 10:06 AM
  • Oct. 7, 2015, 12:45 PM
    • The breakdown of talks over a tie-up with Liberty Global (LBTYA -0.3%) means that Vodafone (VOD -1.1%) and CEO Vittorio Colao will need a more unglamorous strategy of cable and network investments to start paying off.
    • The carrier is now getting calls from bankers to go forward with floating its India mobile business. Management will be focused on running its biggest markets to return to steady growth.
    • "We really need to see an operational turnaround in Europe in this fiscal year," says Axa's Bruno Grandsard. "That is priority number 1, 2, and 3, including the integration of cable assets in Germany and Spain."
    • Vodafone had bought Kabel Deutschland in Germany and Ono in Spain to compete with incumbents in those countries. Germany is Vodafone's biggest sales market, and Kabel Deutschland has been coveted by Liberty Global in talks about European asset swaps.
    • Despite the breakdown of those talks, observers inside and outside Vodafone think Liberty Global will come calling again eventually, possibly a year from now, with the promise of some €20B in cost savings, largely in the UK and Germany.
    | Oct. 7, 2015, 12:45 PM