Wed, May 20, 6:23 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) shares jumped over 4% in London today after John Malone, chairman of cable group Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), opened the door to a long mooted merger of the two groups.
- Malone called the combination a "great fit" and cited "very substantial synergies if we could find a way to work together or combine the companies with respect to western Europe."
- A tie-up would create a telecom behemoth, between Liberty's $45B in market value and Vodafone's $93B.
- Previously: Liberty's Malone: Combo with Vodafone would be 'great fit' (May. 19 2015)
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)
Mon, Apr. 27, 11:18 AM
- Halfway through a massive investment in its network infrastructure, Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) may have found the European market shifting around it, leaving it to play catch-up to rivals, Thao Hua notes.
- The company's £19B ($29B) "Project Spring" plan -- in part funded by selling its stake in Verizon Wireless -- aims to shore up fiber infrastructure in Europe and developing countries. But while it's spent years building Europe's largest mobile network, rivals like Orange (NYSE:ORAN) and Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) have outpaced it in bundling mobile with fixed-line telecom, Internet and TV.
- Raymond James notes a combination with Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) would scale up fixed-line assets in Europe -- including the U.K., where Vodafone faces two competitors getting bigger through merger (BT-EE; O2-Hutchison Whampoa) -- but Vodafone is scrambling to digest the acquisitions it's already made.
- Revenues have been slipping and competitive pressure means the payoff for investors may be getting further away.
Mon, Apr. 20, 3:32 AM
- Liberty Global's (NASDAQ:LBTYA) Belgian unit has agreed to buy Royal KPN's (OTCPK:KKPNY) local mobile-phone business Base for €1.33B ($1.43B) as billionaire John Malone enlarges his European cable and telecommunications empire.
- Telenet (OTCPK:TLGHY) has about 900K mobile subscribers; Base has 3.3M.
- With Malone expanding through purchases across Europe, Liberty Global now owns cable and phone operations stretching from Hungary to the U.K.
Thu, Apr. 9, 9:08 PM
- Don't let recent merger challenges and failures fool you, Michael Wolff argues: "M&A mania" is coming to a media conglomerate near you amid pressure for a new wave of consolidation.
- "Perhaps never before has consolidation been so much the flavor of the month, nor has it seemed so difficult to get a taste," he writes. "The table is set, but nobody's sitting down to eat."
- If Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) fails in its bid for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), he notes, it just means other cablers will step up to match Comcast's ambition, and Comcast will still look for a way to stay dominant.
- He points to a number of mergers he thinks are easily imaginable: Viacom (NASDAQ:VIA) and FOX? Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX)? TWC and Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR)? Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) and, well, most anyone (Disney, Fox, CBS)?
- Factors encouraging the wave: Media's all about video now, and the pure-play aspect makes merger logic cleaner; distribution and content are separate and now even antagonistic businesses; the growth of over-the-top means not unbundling but re-bundling; and everyone needs scale for negotiation strength in content and ad deals.
- Other key players: John Malone (LMCA, LBTYA, STRZA); Verizon (NYSE:VZ); Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF); Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI); Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX); DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and AT&T (NYSE:T); Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH).
Fri, Mar. 27, 10:15 AM
- Sony Pictures Television (NYSE:SNE) has agreed to acquire Dutch premium TV group Film1 from Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), John Malone's European cable operator.
- The deal means Sony will own and operate five premium movie channels as well as its over-the-top "Film1 Go" digital distribution service.
- Liberty had acquired Film1 in buying Dutch cable operator Ziggo, and Ziggo will continue to carry the five Film1 channels, which feature films from Hollywood studios as well as independent productions.
- The move is another in a series of recent Sony transactions to acquire European channels, including deals in the UK and Hungary.
Dec. 3, 2014, 1:59 PM
- During a meeting with analysts and investors, Vodafone (VOD -1%) tried to "calm fears" it could push for a merger with Liberty Global (LBTYA -1.1%), Reuters reports after talking with some of those present.
- Analyst Nick Delfas, one of the attendees: "Vodafone is highly rational about M&A and does not need to do anything. We don't think they would look at Sky or TalkTalk either." He adds some of Liberty's assets might not appeal to Vodafone.
- Bloomberg reported last week Vodafone is exploring a merger with Liberty, as it pushes ahead with its efforts to offer triple and quad-play packages to consumers in the U.K. and other European markets.
Nov. 28, 2014, 1:07 PM
- Bloomberg reports Vodafone (VOD +2.6%) is exploring a "combination" with European cable giant Liberty Global (LBTYA +7.4%). Liberty has soared on the news.
- Liberty operates in 14 countries (12 in Europe), passes 52M homes, and claims 27M customers and trailing annual revenue of $20B. Vodafone has already acquired Spanish and German cable giants ONO and Kabel Deutschland, and has declared it wants to offer mobile/wireline bundles throughout Europe.
- Earlier: UBS upgrades Vodafone
Feb. 19, 2014, 4:22 AM
- John Malone has given the rights of first refusal to the CEOs of Discovery Communications (DISCA) and Liberty Global (LBTYA) to buy his holdings in their respective companies.
- Discovery chief David Zaslav will be able to purchase Malone's 29% voting stake in the TV broadcaster; at Liberty, Michael Fries will be able to acquire Malone's 27% voting interest.
- However, Malone has no intention of reducing his involvement in the businesses just yet, nor has he laid out any similar plans for his holding in Liberty Media (LMCA). Rather, the rights given to Zaslav and Fries represent planning for the future.
Feb. 12, 2014, 4:06 AM| Comment!
Feb. 9, 2014, 1:11 AM
- Vodafone (VOD) has made a formal offer for Spanish cable operator Grupo Corporativo ONO, the Expansion newspaper reports.
- However, Reuters sources provide conflicting information: one says that talks are continuing, while two others say that no offer would be made.
- Vodafone is vying with Liberty Global (LBTYA) to acquire the firm, which has also been considering an IPO.
- Any deal for ONO, which one analyst says could be worth an estimated €6.4B ($8.7B) including debt, would add to Vodafone's acquisition of other cable providers in Europe such as Kabel Deutschland in Germany.
Jan. 27, 2014, 3:24 AM
- Liberty Global (LBTYA) has agreed to acquire the 70% or so of Ziggo that it doesn't own in a cash and stock deal that values the Dutch cable group at €10B ($13.7B).
- The offer is worth €34.53 a share, a premium of 22% to Ziggo's share price of €29.24 on October 15, the day before the company said Liberty had bid for it.
- Liberty will also pay stockholders a dividend of one share for each share held.
- The deal adds to Liberty's expansion in Europe after it acquired the U.K.'s Virgin Media for $16B last year.
- Ziggo is the Netherlands' largest operator, with 2.8M digital-TV subscribers, while Liberty operates in the country through its UPC Broadband unit. The combined company will have 4M customers and revenues of €2.5B, although one wonders whether the deal won't face antitrust hurdles. (Previous) (PR)
Dec. 12, 2013, 4:21 AM
- Liberty Global (LBTYA) is in negotiations to acquire Dutch cable group Ziggo (ZIGGY), which already rejected an offer from the U.S. group in October for being too low.
- Liberty owns 28.5% in Ziggo, whose market cap is €6.63B.
- The talks come as Liberty expands its presence in Europe, having acquired Virgin Media for $16B earlier this year.
Sep. 3, 2013, 4:03 AM
- Vodafone (VOD) -1.5% in London following news of the sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130B.
- Vodafone plans to use the money on its own networks, CEO Vittorio Colao has said. Acquiring foreign assets is an option but Vodafone won't do it immediately.
- Although the company will pay its shareholders $84B in cash and Verizon stock, it also intends to launch Project Spring, a £6B ($9.3B) scheme to invest in 4G infrastructure and fiber-optic cables.
- Meanwhile, John Malone said he would consider an offer for Liberty Global (LBTYA), Europe’s largest cable-television operator, but he's "happy" with with the company as is. Liberty has been mentioned as a possible Vodafone target.
Sep. 2, 2013, 3:05 AM
- Vodafone (VOD) says it is in "advanced discussions" to sell its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications (VZ) for $130B in cash and shares.
- The company will make a further announcement "as soon as practicable," which reports say could be today.
- The sides were working late into the night to iron out the final details, sources say, including the cash-stock ratio of the deal.
- The debate about what Vodafone should do with the proceeds of the deal is already well under way: while shareholders are hoping for a healthy windfall, the FT reports that the company is interested in expanding its presence in the wire-line sector in Europe with deals similar to its proposed acquisition of Kabel Deutscheland. Liberty Global (LBTYA) has cropped up in the speculation as a potential target. (PR)
Aug. 14, 2013, 4:21 AM
- A higher regional court in Duesseldorf in Germany has overturned the approval by the country's cartel office of Liberty Global's (LBTYA) €3.16B ($4.2B) acquisition of KabelBW and ordered the regulator to have another look at the deal.
- The cartel office had authorized the transaction at the end of 2011, imposing some tough conditions due to Liberty Global owning UnityMedia, Germany's second-largest cable operator.
- The latest decision represents an interim victory for Deutsche Telekom (DTEGF.PK), which had challenged the approval of the deal.
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