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Strategic Buyer: Liberty Global Purchases Virgin Media

In a deal valued at $23.3B, two cable companies may merge to serve customers in 14 countries

Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTYA) is set to merge with Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) in a deal valued at about $23.3 billion.

The transaction, should it be approved by shareholders, would serve more than 25 million customers in 14 countries.

Virgin supplies broadband Internet, television, phone and mobile phone services. The company is a part of the Virgin Group, started in 1970 by Richard Branson (pictured), who owns a three percent stake in the target. Virgin Group operates in the financial services, music, vacation and health and wellness sectors.

Liberty, an international cable service headquartered in Englewood, Colo., said in a statement that Virgin shareholders would receive $17.50 in cash per share, as well as Liberty stock. The transaction is equal to $47.87 per Virgin Media share—a 24 percent premium to Virgin Media’s closing price on Feb. 4, the companies said.

The deal comes as Virgin Media announced that its operating income for 2012 was £699 million, up from £540 million in 2011.

LionTree Advisors acted as Liberty’s lead financial adviser, Credit Suisse acted as financial adviser and global coordinator, and Shearman & Sterling and Ropes & Gray were legal counsel. Goldman Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan acted as Virgin’s financial advisers, while Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP and Fried Frank handled Virgin’s legal matters.

 

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