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Liberty confirms completion of Ziggo takeover

Liberty Global has completed its tender offer for Dutch cable operator Ziggo and will own 100% of the firm’s outstanding shares, Liberty confirmed yesterday.

Mike FriesAnnouncing Liberty Global’s third quarter results, company CEO Mike Fries (pictured) said that Liberty will immediately begin the integration of Ziggo and UPC Netherlands, “which we expect will drive substantial cost and revenue synergies over the coming years.”

“As we leverage the incremental scale provided by Ziggo, which will expand our total customer base to 27 million households taking more than 55 million subscription services,” said Fries.

He added that upon closing of the Ziggo offer, Liberty will look to use its “substantial liquidity” to restart its share repurchase programme.

“Our buybacks will resume imminently, and we expect to repurchase approximately US$2.6 billion of stock over the next fourteen months, which will bring our cumulative total to more than US$13 billion since the company’s formation in 2005,” said Fries.

Liberty said that its buyout of Ziggo is now unconditional, after all conditions of its offer were met by the accepted closing date of November 4.

Shares representing approximately 67.2% of Ziggo’s issued and outstanding stock were tendered by this date. Together with the shares Liberty already owned, its holding stood at roughly 87.9% ­– more than the required 80% for the deal to be accepted.

Following the post-closing acceptance period, Liberty said it will start procedures that will result in it owning 100% of Ziggo. The firm will be delisted from Euronext Amsterdam as part of the deal.

In its Q3 results, Liberty said that it recorded “record volume growth,” driven by strong demand for its next-generation videoplatforms, its broadband speeds, and its “increasingly converged products that provide our customers with connectivity and entertainment outside of the home.”

At the end of Q3, Liberty provided 24.5 million unique customers with 49.2 million subscription services across our footprint of 47.5 million homes passed.

Liberty said its next-generation TV platforms, which include MyPrime and Horizon Go, helped to reduce video churn, contributing to the improved Q3 video loss of 46,000 revenue-generating units – the lowest third quarter video attrition in seven years.

“During Q3, we added 261,000 next-generation video subscribers, increasing our TiVo subscriber base to 2.4 million in the UK and our Horizon TV base to 770,000 subscribers across the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Ireland,” said Liberty.

The firm finished Q3 with a total of 13.5 million digital subscribers, representing 65% digital penetration, of which 3.2 million or 23% were TiVo or Horizon TV subscribers.

Third quarter revenue increased 5% to US$4.5 billion, while operating income increased 35% to $704 million. Net earnings attributable to shareholders for the quarter were US$157 million.