Liberty Global rules out BSkyB bid as subscriber growth continues

Liberty Global (LG) is unlikely to make a bid for UK pay TV operator BSkyB, according to chairman John Malone who was speaking to the Financial Times.

Malone said the cable company is looking to expand further into Europe and would like to enter the UK market, but when asked whether he would be interested in Sky should News Corp divest any of its 39.1%, he said it was a purely hypothetical question.

Malone was speaking as LG reported its best ever third quarter subscriber growth. The company added 327,000 subscribers to its various products during the three months ending September 30. The number of RGUs increased by 947,000, of which 619,000 came from the inclusion of RGUs from acquisitions, including Poland’s Aster.

LG added 117,800 digital cable subscribers in western Europe during the third quarter, ending September with a total of 3.8 million. Growth was strongest in Germany, where there were 55,400 new additions. In eastern Europe, the total stood at 1.7 million after LG added 167,000 new digital subs.

LG reported third quarter revenue of US$2.6 billion (€1.9 billion), up from US$2.3 billion a year earlier.

LG’s president and CEO Mike Fries confirmed that its next generation Horizon platform was on track for an early 2011 launch: “On the technology front, we’re on track to launch our Horizon platform in the Netherlands early next year, and believe it has the potential to differentiate our digital video services much in the way that DOCSIS 3.0 improved our competitive advantage for broadband within our markets. Our Horizon platform, with a simple and intuitive 3D-rendered interface and a powerful search and recommendation engine, will provide an elegant media and entertainment platform, seamlessly integrating cable, web-based and personal content. Our consumers will be able to easily navigate, share and view content on multiple screens and devices wirelessly throughout the home.”

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