Belfast Telegraph

Vodafone and Liberty Global in talks on joint venture

By Holly Williams

Vodafone has confirmed talks with cable firm Liberty Global over a joint venture in the Netherlands less than six months after the pair ended asset swap discussions.

Vodafone said the Dutch tie-up discussions were ongoing and stressed they "do not extend beyond the creation of a joint venture in the Netherlands".

It comes after media speculation over rekindled talks between the two companies, after they scrapped previous plans for assets swaps across Europe in late September.

Vodafone had always dismissed talk of a full-blown merger, but first sparked rumours of a £100bn deal when it said in June last year it had entered discussions regarding "a possible exchange of selected assets between the two companies''. Liberty Global is controlled by US cable and media tycoon John Malone, although it is focused on Europe.

It bought Virgin Media in 2013 for $23.3bn (£16.5bn), creating Europe's largest broadband business. Subsidiary UPC owns Irish broadcaster TV3.

In the Netherlands, Liberty Global owns the biggest cable television operator, Ziggo, while Vodafone is the second biggest mobile group after KPN.

There has been speculation about Vodafone's future since the $130bn (£90bn) sale of its 45% stake in US business Verizon Wireless, to joint venture partner Verizon, which completed in 2014.

Vodafone reports third quarter figures tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph