Liberty Global’s preliminary takeover bid for Dutch cable TV operator Ziggo has been rejected by the Ziggo board. Liberty had increased its stake in Ziggo to 28.5%, the company said 7/27. Dutch law would require Liberty, Ziggo’s biggest shareholder, to make a bid for all of Ziggo should it acquire a stake greater than 30%.
Liberty, which also holds a controlling stake in Belgian cable operator Telenet and Ziggo’s Dutch rival UPC, acquired its first 12.65% of Ziggo when Barclays was left with shares it failed to place for previous owners Cinven and Warburg Pincus. Liberty had subsequently increased its stake to 15%.
No word yet if Liberty Global will try again.
The Denver Business Journal noted that rumors have flown in recent days that Liberty Global wants all of Ziggo. On Wednesday, Ziggo issued a statement confirming a preliminary bid by Liberty Global: “The potential offer was considered inadequate and there is no certainty that Ziggo will receive any revised offer,” Ziggo’s statement said.
Liberty Global has 24.5 million cable TV and broadband Internet customers in 15 countries, mostly in Europe. Its biggest markets are Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.
Led by CEO Mike Fries, Liberty Global has been buying cable TV businesses in Western Europe, most recently Britain’s Virgin Media in a $14.1 billion cash and stock deal that closed in June. Liberty Global was outbid for German cable operator Kabel Deutschland by Britain’s Vodafone that same month.