Billionaire John Malone is on a buying spree, and all of Europe is in his cross-hairs. On Monday, Malone’s Liberty Global agreed to buy Ziggo, the largest Dutch cable television provider, for over $9 billion. The deal is only the latest for Liberty in Europe, where in 2013 the company acquired UK’s Virgin Media for $16 billion and raised its stake in Belgium’s Telenet to over 56%.
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In the acquisition, Ziggo shareholders will receive €11 in cash, plus Liberty Global stock — valuing Ziggo at €34.53 per share, a 3.8% premium from its Friday closing price and a 22% premium from before Liberty’s first takeover offer in October.
“This transaction creates a nationwide cable champion that will drive investment and innovation for the benefit of Dutch consumers and businesses alike,” Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said in a statement. “Our combined operations will reach over 90% of all Dutch households allowing us to compete more effectively with the other national telecommunications and satellite platforms in the Netherlands, and at the same time generate significant revenue and operating efficiencies.”
Liberty Global plans to merge Ziggo with UPC, the Dutch cable operator it already owns. Combined, the two companies will have over $6.5 billion in revenues. Liberty’s growing European operations also includes Germany’s Unitymedia.
Billionaire John Malone, who ranked 61st on the latest Forbes 400 list of Wealthiest Americans, hasn’t been quiet on the home front either. Malone’s Liberty Media announced earlier this month that it wants to absorb the rest of Sirius XM. And his Charter Communications, in which Liberty Media is the largest shareholder, offered $61 billion to buy Time Warner Cable.
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