Liberty Global has agreed to acquire Ziggo in a stock and cash deal worth around €10 billion. It will create a national operator in the Netherlands, centralising operations in Utrecht under the Ziggo brand, with 4 million customers and a combined footprint covering more than nine out of ten Dutch homes.
Liberty Global subsidiary UPC has 1.1 million digital cable television subscribers in the Netherlands and a further half a million analogue homes.
Ziggo serves around 2.8 million households, with almost 2.3 million digital television homes, 1.9 million internet subscribers and 1.6 million telephone customers.
Mike Fries, the chief executive of Liberty Global, said: “This transaction creates a nationwide cable champion that will drive investment and innovation for the benefit of Dutch consumers and businesses alike. 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.”
“For Ziggo this is a great opportunity to create a Dutch industry leader together with UPC Netherlands,” added Andrew Sukawaty, the chairman of Ziggo. “In essence, this transaction is about two Dutch companies coming together,” he said. “The new Ziggo combines two regional networks. By joining forces they will stimulate and maintain the leading position of the Netherlands in the digital economy.”
Liberty Global had previously acquired 28.5% of Ziggo during 2013. René Obermann, the chief executive of Ziggo, is not expected to remain with the company. Liberty Global and the management board will appoint a new chief executive. Ziggo expects to delist from the Euronext Amsterdam exchange.
Liberty Global is the largest international cable company with operations in 14 countries and 24 million customers, not including Ziggo.
Liberty owned UPC has been rolling out its next-generation Horizon platform in the Netherlands. The company said it “intends to integrate and align the respective Dutch businesses to fully benefit from their combined reach, scale and resources, in order to provide a compelling growth platform and enhance their capabilities to service customers in a reliable and cost-efficient way.”
Early in 2013 Liberty Global acquired the Virgin Media operation in the United Kingdom in a stock and cash merger worth $23 billion.