The speed at which the boards have approved the acquisition of Virgin Media by Liberty Global that has numerous cable operations across Europe and the Americas will be a surprise to many, but more likely this is something that has been happening behind closed doors for some time.
The deal is valued at $23.3 billion (~£15 billion) and will see very Virgin Media shareholder receive $17.50 in cash, 0.2582 Liberty Global Series A shares and 0.1928 Liberty Global Series C shares for each Virgin Media share they own.
"Adding Virgin Media to our large and growing European operations is a natural extension of the value creation strategy we've been successfully using for over seven years. Virgin Media will add significant scale and a first-class management team in Europe's largest and most dynamic media and communications market. After the deal, roughly 80% of Liberty Global's revenue will come from just five attractive and strong countries - the UK, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Like all of our strategic acquisitions we expect this combination to yield meaningful operating and capex synergies of approximately $180 million per year upon full integration. But just as importantly, Virgin Media's market leading innovation and product expertise, particularly in mobile and B2B, will accelerate our own development of these business segments."Mike Fries, President and CEO of Liberty Global
Today also sees the Virgin Media fourth quarter figures being published, and Virgin Media saw 169,300 net broadband additions in the year, with 62,700 of these in Q4. The total broadband customer base is 4.47m (4.27m cable and 0.2m on DSL).