Vodafone-Liberty Global talks terminated

Vodafone has said that talks with Liberty Global about a possible asset swap have been terminated.

John_MaloneIn a statement issued today, Vodafone confirmed that the early-stage discussions – regarding a possible exchange of “selected assets” – will not go any further.

The news comes after Liberty Global chairman, John Malone (pictured), signalled earlier this month that the two companies had not been able to come up with a combination or asset swap that would work for both partners.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Malone said that while “there’s a price at which Liberty could be bought”, a full merger or acquisition was unlikely.

Vodafone confirmed it was in early discussions with Liberty back in June, but said at the time: “There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor is there certainty with respect to which assets will ultimately be involved.”

Talk of a possible deal between the companies had previously focused on Germany, where both have cable assets – but where a combination could be opposed by Deutsche Telekom on competition grounds.

Other territories where the pair could have combined forces included the UK, where Liberty Global owns cable operator Virgin Media and Vodafone is major mobile player.

In May, Malone commented that a combination of Vodafone and Liberty Global would be a “great fit” for the latter.  He said that an agreement to work together or a combination of the two companies could deliver “very substantial synergies”, and cited the benefits of a merger in markets including Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.

Liberty and Vodafone have combined annual revenues of over US$80 billion and a combined market value of US$130 billion.