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Vodafone and Liberty hold talks over Dutch JV

James Pearce
February 2, 2016

Operator confirms it is holding negotiations months after ending talks of an assets swap 

Vodafone Group has resumed talks with Virgin Media-owner Liberty Global over a potential joint venture.

The UK-based operator is in talks about setting up a JV in the Netherlands, just months after the two telecoms providers ended talks of swapping European assets.

The talks are a resumption of negotiations that ended in September, with Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao admitting they were far apart.

Any JV would incorporate both Vodafone and Liberty’s existing Dutch assets. Vodafone currently operates a mobile network int he country, while Liberty owns cable television provider Ziggo.

Previous discussions were reportedly around UK and German assets, but Liberty owner John Malone admitted “philosophical differences” around dividends and expansion could make a combination difficult.

It comes as Vodafone is trying to respond to a quickly-changing European market, including major consolidation in the UK, with BT having completed it’s acquisition of EE, and Three poised ot merge with O2.

A statement from Vodafone said: “Following recent media speculation, Vodafone Group Plc confirms it is in discussions with Liberty Global Plc regarding the creation of a joint venture in the Netherlands that would incorporate both companies’ local operating businesses.

“The discussions are ongoing and do not extend beyond the creation of a joint venture in the Netherlands. There is no certainty as to when or whether any transaction will be agreed.”

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