Vodafone ‘Considering’ Bid For Virgin Media Owner Liberty Global

Coaxial cable virgin media DOCSIS © zwola fasola Shutterstock

Vodafone is reportedly preparing to react to BT’s mobile expansion with Liberty Global offer but could also target TalkTalk

Vodafone is reportedly considering a bid for cable operator Liberty Global to counter BT’s possible acquisition of a mobile network.

The Newbury-based firm has already announced plans to offer home broadband services to customers from next year, partly powered by the Cable & Wireless network it bought in 2012, which supplies services to enterprises.

However following confirmation that BT is in takeover negotiations with both O2 and EE, Vodafone is apparently keen to strike in a bid to remain competitive in the UK market, which is increasingly consolidating as communications providers seek to offer ‘quad-play’ packages of broadband, landline, mobile and television services.

Vodafone Liberty Global

Virgin Media TiVoLiberty Global bought Virgin Media for £15 billion in 2013 and has 5 million customers in the UK – 66 percent of which take at least three services from the company and 17 percent of which take all four.

Any deal would also give Vodafone access to more cable networks in Europe, including the Netherlands, Ireland and Germany, adding to its recent acquisitions of Ono in Spain and Kabel Deutschland in Germany as well as its own fibre networks in Spain, Italy and Ireland.

But this means any takeover would likely attract the attention of competition regulators in some countries. The deal could also be scuppered by Liberty Global’s demands. Apparently, Vodafone made an approach earlier in the year but was put off by the price.

Another target could be TalkTalk, which would be cheaper, but has less fibre connections. It has also been suggested that Vodafone could build out its own infrastructure and use BT’s Openreach network to fill in the gaps.

Vodafone declined to comment on the speculation.

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