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Liberty Global, Inc. (LBTYK)

  • Mon, Nov. 16, 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.
    | Mon, Nov. 16, 2:19 PM | Comment!
  • Tue, Nov. 3, 11:02 AM
    | Tue, Nov. 3, 11:02 AM | Comment!
  • Wed, Oct. 28, 10:23 AM
    | Wed, Oct. 28, 10:23 AM | Comment!
  • Mon, Oct. 5, 1:53 PM
    • Europe's antitrust regulators are taking a closer look at a U.S.-initiated telecom deal, launching a full-scale probe into Liberty Global's (LBTYA +1.4%) bid for Belgium's Base (OTCPK:KKPNY +2.2%) over worries about price hikes.
    • Last month, Liberty was offering up concessions to the European Commission (now tougher than before) in order to seal a $1.5B deal for the Royal KPN operator. The EC had set a decision deadline for today.
    • Now the EC says its early review suggests the deal may reduce competition in Belgium and cut the incentives for Base to offer rivals network access.
    • A final decision on the deal is now due Feb. 18 (and may require more from Liberty to get it done).
    | Mon, Oct. 5, 1:53 PM | Comment!
  • Fri, Oct. 2, 9:46 AM
    • Top UK cableco Virgin Media (LBTYA -1.9%) has launched its "Vivid" fiber-based broadband brand for 100 Mbps-plus speeds, offering its existing customers an upgrade to higher service tiers.
    • Customers can go from existing tiers of 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps and 152 Mbps to new tiers of 70 Mbps, Vivid 150 Mbps and Vivid 200 Mbps, and it's added a Vivid 100 Mbps tier. Vivid 200 is selling unbundled for £42.75/month ($64.79/month) with a 12-month contract, and Vivid 100 for £35.25/month ($53.42/month) for the same-length contract.
    • The upgrades will be available to 90% of customers by the end of the year, Virgin Media says.
    • Liberty Global is preparing to run field trials of DOCSIS 3.1 for early 2016 in some markets.
    | Fri, Oct. 2, 9:46 AM | Comment!
  • Mon, Sep. 28, 9:39 AM
    • Vodafone (VOD -3.1%) and Liberty Global (LBTYA -3.7%) were among early premarket sliders in telecom today after the two broke off discussions over swapping European assets.
    • The cost of insuring Vodafone's debt dropped the most in nearly four months, and bonds of Liberty Global's units fell to their own records. Virgin Media (a likely Vodafone target) saw its January 2025 bonds slip to 92.8c/euro, lowest since issuance, while Germany's Unitymedia bonds fell 5.1 cents to a record low 84.4 cents.
    • Barclays reiterated its Overweight rating on the shares with a 250-pence price target. Shares are down 3.7% in London to 209.7p, implying a 19% upside in Barclays' target.
    • Previously: Vodafone ends talks with Liberty Global over asset swaps (Sep. 28 2015)
    | Mon, Sep. 28, 9:39 AM | Comment!
  • Tue, Sep. 15, 9:32 AM
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is off 2.3% amid the newly tougher regulatory scheme that likely has put a kibosh on a merger with Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA).
    • A shift in approach to the hard line by European Commission competition chief Margrethe Vestager recently got TeliaSonera and Telenor to call off a merger of their Danish operators. And Liberty is offering up fresh concessions in an effort to seal its effort to buy KPN's Belgian operator Base.
    • John Malone is still looking for common ground with Vodafone over some kind of tie-up, he tells Bloomberg, as those talks seem to stall. Discussions about a full merger that initially moved stocks turned to talks over an asset swap in Europe, as Vodafone insists it's not talking about the full deal.
    • "Obviously there’s a price at which Liberty Global could be bought," Malone said. "I don’t believe that that’s likely for the other side to get there -- an outright purchase of the whole company. Other than that, it’s a question of could you figure out some way to live together."
    • Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao should "retire" now that the merger talks have fallen apart, says telecom analyst Neil Campling of Aviate Global. Asset swaps seem unlikely in key markets the UK and Germany, he says. “While we can find reasons to invest in Liberty Global on a standalone basis, the same cannot be said for Vodafone," he says. "What's next? Vittorio, surely, will retire and head for the sunshine/ski slope. He should.”
    • Meanwhile, Vodafone India has begun talks with IBM to renew a 660B-rupee ($1B) outsourcing contract that expires in June. Other vendors, including Wipro, Tata Consultancy, Infosys and Tech Mahindra, could push for the deal.
    | Tue, Sep. 15, 9:32 AM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Jul. 31, 11:34 AM
    • Liberty Global (LBTYA +0.7%) has boosted its stake in Britain's biggest free-to-air broadcaster, buying 138.7M shares of ITV (OTCPK:ITVPY +3.7%) to increase its ownership to 9.9%.
    • Liberty assures regulators it doesn't have plans to take over ITV. Last year, though, when it bought 6.4% of the company, it said it didn't intend to increase that stake.
    • “Given ITV's operating and stock price performance, we were able to increase our stake to 9.9% with no incremental investment by hedging our existing equity position,” says Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries.
    • ITV shares closed up 3.2% in London trading.
    • Previously: Financial Times: Liberty Global discussing purchase of Ireland's TV3 (Jun. 23 2015)
    | Fri, Jul. 31, 11:34 AM | Comment!
  • Thu, Jul. 16, 10:22 AM
    • Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) is up 1.4% as JPMorgan restarts coverage of the stock at an Overweight rating.
    • The firm set a price target of $55; shares closed yesterday at $51.74.
    • Goldman Sachs has added the company to its Conviction Buy list while it bumped down possible asset-swap/merger partner Vodafone.
    • The stock's now up 7.1% over the past five days; YTD it's up just 4.5%.
    | Thu, Jul. 16, 10:22 AM | Comment!
  • Wed, Jul. 15, 10:12 AM
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is 1.1% lower as Goldman Sachs removes it from its Pan-Europe Buy List, downgrading the stock to Neutral from Buy.
    • The firm has a price target of 250 pence, down from 275 pence; shares are trading down 1% in London at 235.55 pence.
    • Amid recent talk about an asset swap with Liberty Global (LBTYA +0.5%), Goldman's Tim Boddy sees the risk/reward profile as "more binary" with Vodafone still set to benefit from "'double' consolidation of both mobile and fixed-mobile operators ... We see attractive operational gearing to this growth recovery given its low margins."
    • M&A is still a very valid option and if management reconsiders its structure, "we believe a number of other potential acquirers could take interest in its remaining assets," he says.
    | Wed, Jul. 15, 10:12 AM | 4 Comments
  • Thu, Jul. 9, 5:29 PM
    • There's been little news coming out of secretive Sun Valley -- where media moguls gather at the Allen & Co. conference for "summer camp" and sometimes rearrange billions of dollars with game-changing M&A -- but John Malone today dropped more hints about content consolidation.
    • While media distribution companies have more obvious benefits from consolidation, Malone -- who has hands in Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA), Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:QVCA), Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) -- said economies can apply to content too.
    • "It's all about global scale," he told CNBC. "If you want to be a meaningful player in most of any of these media communication businesses, you have to think about it."
    • And while speculation boils about a tie-up between Malone's Starz (STRZA) and Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) after the two swapped stock, Malone focused on the educational side: "I'm an engineer; what the hell do I know about content? Trying to understand where these ideas come from, how they get created and produced. The development of stories is really going to be important in this random-access world that Reed Hastings (NASDAQ:NFLX) is driving us into."
    • Malone said Netflix changed the game, and that his companies "missed the boat a little bit" on over-the-top offerings.
    • Today: NFLX +2.4%; LGF +0.9%; QVCA +0.3%; CHTR +0.2%.
    | Thu, Jul. 9, 5:29 PM | 8 Comments
  • Fri, Jun. 5, 11:39 AM
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is off 2.2% today after clarifying that it is talking with Liberty Global (LBTYA +1.3%), but about asset swaps instead of an outright merger.
    • A merger would be difficult considering the size of both companies; it would be one of the largest deals ever on enterprise value. But where would asset swaps happen?
    • Swaps would be best where the overlap is heavy: in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. But neither company seems likely to give up on the UK, Thao Hua notes. It's Liberty's largest market (and where it draws a chunk of tax benefits), and Vodafone's home. Meanwhile, Germany is Vodafone's biggest sales market.
    • "I do not think Malone wants to exit any of U.K., Germany or Netherlands," Wunderlich's Matthew Harrigan says.
    • Meanwhile, Macquarie's Amy Yong and Guy Peddy point out that "neither Vodafone nor Liberty Global have any track record of integrating wireless and cable TV assets." They had previously described a "more rational" deal for Vodafone would be tying up with Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY) in a content play.
    • They add: "Any deal with Liberty Global would in our view result in a transfer of value from Vodafone to Liberty Global."
    • Previously: Liberty Global up 4.7%, Vodafone up 4.2% on report of merger talk (Jun. 04 2015)
    • Previously: Vodafone-Liberty still good strategy, but not a slam dunk (Jun. 02 2015)
    | Fri, Jun. 5, 11:39 AM | 3 Comments
  • Thu, Jun. 4, 5:57 PM
    | Thu, Jun. 4, 5:57 PM | 2 Comments
  • Fri, May 22, 10:18 AM
    • Vodafone ADRs (NASDAQ:VOD) are up 1.7% (and shares up 4.4% in London) as Goldman Sachs reports after meeting with company management that Vodafone may sell some assets.
    • With Vodafone moving up this week (ADRs +7.4% since Tuesday) on John Malone's comments that his Liberty Global (LBTYA +2.4%) and Vodafone could be a "great fit," Goldman's Tim Boddy says Vodafone "is willing to consider both acquisitions and disposals where the financial rationale makes sense" and "may be more likely a seller than a buyer of assets."
    • He attributed that to Liberty's preference for tax efficiency vs. Vodafone's preference for dividends -- part of stylistic differences that Malone himself alluded to: "Their philosophy is low leverage, low risk and high cash payout to their shareholders. I prefer to grow equity value."
    | Fri, May 22, 10:18 AM | 4 Comments
  • Tue, May 19, 6:08 PM
    • Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) rose into today's close, +2.3%, as telecom titan John Malone says a combination of his firm and Vodafone (VOD -0.9%) would be a "great fit" with "very substantial synergies if we could find a way to work together or combine the companies with respect to Western Europe."
    • Malone was making his first public comments on a combination in an interview with Bloomberg, though he wouldn't comment on whether the companies were talking. A tie-up would create a telecom behemoth, between Liberty's $45B in market value and Vodafone's $93B.
    • Citigroup has said a stock-based combination could generate synergies of £1.4B/year in free cash flow. But Malone is aware of philosophical differences in approach: “Their philosophy is low leverage, low risk and high cash payout to their shareholders. I prefer to grow equity value.”
    • Liberty has been acquisitive in Europe and is also seeking targets in faster-growing South America, and Mexico -- a market Malone considers most attractive.
    • Previously: Vodafone -3.8% following signs of life in FQ4 earnings (May. 19 2015)
    | Tue, May 19, 6:08 PM | 4 Comments
  • Tue, Feb. 17, 7:34 PM
    • Along with the release of form 13Fs comes news of purchases and sales of stakes in European mega-cableco Liberty Global (LBTYA).
    • Coatue bought 1.4M shares to raise its stake in Liberty 34%, to 5.6M shares.
    • Tiger Consumer sold 25% of its stake, leaving it with 1.5M shares.
    • Today: LBTYA +0.7%, LBTYK +1.1%.
    | Tue, Feb. 17, 7:34 PM | Comment!
Company Description
Liberty Global PLC through its subsidiaries provides video, broadband internet, fixed-line telephony and mobile services across 14 countries.
Sector: Services
Industry: CATV Systems
Country: United States