Liberty Global chairman: Vodafone are “great fit”

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Vodafone shares rise 3.5 per cent in early morning trading following talk of merger with Virgin Media owner

The chairman of Virgin Media’s parent company, Liberty Global, has said that a merger with Vodafone in Western Europe would be a “great fit” for his company.

John Malone made the comments during an interview with financial newswire Bloomberg yesterday.

Vodafone chief executive Vitorio Collao refused to discuss a possible merger during a media roundtable in London yesterday. However, he has previously said Vodafone would be interested in a deal for Liberty at the “right price”.

Liberty Global, whose home market is the US, owns Virgin Media in the UK, UPC in Ireland, Unity Media in Germany and Ziggo in Holland. It also agreed a deal to acquire Belgian telco, Base, for $1.5 billion last month.

Liberty had revenues of $18.2 billion in 2014 and a customer base of 27.3 million customers taking 55.9 million of its services. It made a loss of $695 million.

Speculation has been rife about a tie-up between Vodafone and Liberty for months following a spate of mergers and acquisitions in the global telecommunications industry.

Vodafone is valued at around £60 billion while Liberty Global is valued at £29 billion. Shares in Vodafone rose 3.5 per cent in early morning trading following Malone’s comments.

“We’ve looked at that from our side and there would be very substantial synergies if we could find a way to work together or combine the companies with respect to western Europe,” he said.

“Is there a great fit in Germany? Absolutely. Is there a great fit in the U.K.? Absolutely. Is there a great fit in Holland? Absolutely. There’s the promise of creating enormous shareholder value if we could work it out.”

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