Liberty Global is likely to put its Virgin Media television and broadband business in Ireland up for sale. The Irish business was left out of the recently completed £31 billion merger of Virgin Media with O2. The main cable television provider in Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland also owns TV3 Group, the only commercial television broadcaster in the country, which was rebranded Virgin Media Television. With 438,000 fixed-line customers, the business could be worth up to €2 billion.
Previously trading as Chorus NTL and UPC Ireland, the Irish operation was rebranded Virgin Media Ireland in 2015.
The Irish cable network passes 948,000 homes, with 319,000 subscribing to its television service and 388,000 taking broadband, giving it a total of 438,000 fixed-line customers. It also has a modest 122,000 mobile subscribers, operating as a mobile virtual network operator on infrastructure from Three.
Virgin Media in the United Kingdom is now owned by Virgin Media O2, an equal venture between Liberty Global and the Spanish telecoms group Telefónica. The $31 billion merger completed on 1 June 2021, following clearance by the Competition and Markets Authority.
Ireland and Poland are the last remaining territories in which Liberty Global does not have both broadband and mobile infrastructure assets.
Back in February, Mike Fries, the chief executive of Liberty Global, said they would continue to evaluate the long-term future in markets like Ireland and Poland. He said: “It would be surprising to me if we ended 2021 without continued transformation even in those two markets, whatever that might look like.”