Liberty Global adds Dutch MSO


John Malone’s Liberty Global purchased a 12.7% stake in Dutch cable-television operator Ziggo NV from Barclays after the British bank failed to find enough buyers last week in a share sale. Liberty paid $807 million to Barclays’s investment-banking unit, the company said.

Malone’s cable giant has been acquiring European cable assets to expand in the continent’s pay-TV market. Last month it agreed to buy the U.K.’s Virgin Media Inc. for $16 billion, the biggest media transaction since 2007.

Ziggo, with 2.9 million TV customers at the end of last year, offers TV, digital pay TV, high-speed broadband Internet and telephone services. It also competes with phone companies including Royal KPN NV and Vodafone Group Plc., reported Bloomberg.

Once the Virgin Media deal is completed, about 80% of Liberty Global’s revenue will come from five countries — the U.K., Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands, CEO Mike Fries said in February.

Barclays held about 28.4 million Ziggo shares as of 3/19, representing a 14% stake, according to a previous filing posted on the Dutch markets regulator AFM’s website said.

Liberty Global already operates in the Netherlands through its UPC Broadband Holding BV unit, a Ziggo rival.

The Ziggo stake “is also financially attractive given the stock’s approximate 7.4 percent dividend yield,” according to a Liberty Global statement.

The board said in a statement it will “focus on executing Ziggo’s strategy in the best interests of its shareholders.”

See the Bloomberg story here.