Liberty Global revives acquisition talks for Ziggo- sources

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Dec 12, 2013 05:04 AM EST

A Bloomberg report said Liberty Global has resurrected talks to purchase Ziggo NV. Liberty Global is a cable firm controlled by billionaire John Malone, while Ziggo is a Netherlands-based broadband provider. Citing a statement from Ziggo, the report said the broadband operator is currently talking with Liberty Global for a possible offer. Sources also told Bloomberg News that Malone's firm may make an offer for the Dutch company before 2013 ends. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because a decision on the matter has not yet been made.

Earlier this year, Ziggo had snubbed an offer for a full takeover from Liberty on the grounds that the bid was inadequate. The report said cable and fixed-line broadband providers in Europe are getting to be the magnet for deals because of the slowed growth in mobile phone services. In October, Vodafone purchased Kabel Deutschland Holding, a Germany-based cable provider, so that it could add a fixed line business in its biggest market. Liberty also owns the UPC cable business in the Netherlands.

The report quoted Amsterdam-based Kepler Cheuvreux Analyst Matthijs van Leijenhorst, who said about the possible deal, "A merging of UPC and Ziggo makes perfect sense and if you look at the synergies they are perfect." He said that in a deal, Ziggo could be worth €37 per share.

In the statement, Ziggo said no certainty exists that an agreement will be reached or that any offer will be made. The sources also said the timeline for the offer could reach next year and that Liberty Global may decide against pushing through with a full offer.

The report also quoted Liberty Chief Financial Officer Charles Bracken, who said in a Barcelona investor conference held on November 20, "We clearly are looking long term about the possibility of a combination. There are clearly synergies, however Liberty is very disciplined about prices."

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