Liberty Global is to acquire German cable operator Unitymedia in a deal worth 3.5m. Liberty Global will acquire the operator for an equity purchase price of Â2bn from its parent, which is owned by a group of shareholders. Together with UnitymediaÂs net debt of approximately Â1.5bn, the total consideration is Â3.5bn, excluding transaction costs.
Liberty Global owns and operates various European cable networks under its UPC Broadband division. It is unclear whether it will incorporate Unitymedia into its UPC family or allow it to remain independent.
The news comes as a surprise as various press reports had speculated that Unitymedia, which was acquired by equity partners BC Partners and Apollo for Â1.5bn in 2003, was set to announce an IPO this week.Â UnitymediaÂs CEO Parm Sandhu said the acquisition, which is expected to complete during the first half of 2010, would bring Âsignificant benefits to our customers, employees and other stakeholdersÂ.
Mike Fries, president and CEO of Liberty Global said: “The addition of Unitymedia not only enhances our European presence, but adds significant scale to our global operations, as our footprint, including Unitymedia, will exceed 40 million homes.ÂÂ
Shane O’Neill, Liberty GlobalÂs senior vice-president and chief strategy officer said the company had no further plans to expand in Germany, adding that there are no plans for an IPO.