Liberty Global acquires Virgin Media for $23.3 billion

International television and telecommunications company Liberty Global has announced the acquisition of Virgin Media for $23.3 billion in cash and stock, creating the UK’s second largest pay-TV business after BskyB.

Virgin Media will retain its name and logo, for the time being at least, and the company’s 4.9 million subscribers are unlikely to notice any major changes.

"Adding Virgin Media to our large and growing European operations is a natural extension of the value creation strategy we've been successfully using for over seven years," Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said. "Virgin Media will add significant scale and a first-class management team in Europe's largest and most dynamic media and communications market. After the deal, roughly 80 percent of Liberty Global's revenue will come from just five attractive and strong countries -- the UK, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands".

Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett commented: "Over the past six years, Virgin Media has transformed the digital experience of millions of customers, catalyzed a deep-rooted change in the UK’s digital landscape and delivered impressive growth and returns for our shareholders. I’m confident that this deal will help us to build on this legacy. Virgin Media and Liberty Global have a shared ambition, focus on operational excellence and commitment to driving shareholder value. The combined company will be able to grow faster and deliver enhanced returns by capitalizing on the exciting opportunities that the digital revolution presents, both in the UK and across Europe".

The combined reach of Liberty Global and Virgin Media will cover 47 million homes, and serve 25 million customers across 14 countries.

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