Liberty Global Inc.
(LBTYA) announced it will acquire all of the issued and outstanding capital stock of Unitymedia GmbH, the second largest cable TV operator in Germany. The total consideration will be approximately $5.2 billion. Liberty Global will acquire 100% of the shares of Unitymedia for an equity purchase price of around $3 billion and will also assume around $2.2 billion of net outstanding debt of Unitymedia. The deal is expected to be completed by the first half of 2010 subject to regulatory clearance.
Liberty Global is the second largest cable TV operator in the world. However, it is the largest international cable TV operator since Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), the largest cable MSO in the world does not have any operation outside the U.S. As of now, the company has approximately 16.6 million customers in 14 nations, most of which are in Europe. On the other hand, Unitymedia has approximately 6.4 million RGUs (revenue generating units); including 4.5 million analog and digital basic cable subscribers and 1.9 million new service RGUs (digital TV Pay, retail broadband internet, wholesale MMA internet, and telephony).
Germany is one of the lucrative markets in Europe. In 2002, Liberty Global has failed in its attempt to acquire the cable TV business of Deutsche Telekom AG (DT). Unitymedia has the highest uptake of digital TV and highest RGU per household in Germany. Integration of Unitymedia’s operations with Liberty Global will create a formidable cable TV player in Germany to compete with Kabel Deutschland (the largest cable TV operator in Germany), Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Plc (VOD).
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