Liberty subs grow, on track for Virgin Media deal completion

Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries

Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries

Liberty Global reported higher subscriber numbers and revenues in the first quarter and said it was on-track to complete its Virgin Media buyout and continue rolling out its Horizon TV platform.

As of March 31, the European cable giant said that it had 19.7 million customers, a year-on-year increase of 158,800, who received 35.2 million services – up 5% compared to last year.

These services consisted of 18.2 million video service subscriptions, 9.5 million broadband internet subs and 7.5 million telephony subscribers, with bundling credited as an “important driver” of subscriber growth.

Total video subscribers dropped by 92,000 during the quarter. However, Liberty said it now has more than 200,000 Horizon TV subscribers, 55,000 of whom are in Switzerland, where Liberty rolled out the service in January.

Liberty said it plans to launch its full Horizon TV platform – which lets viewers watch TV anywhere in their home on multiple devices – in Ireland this summer, followed by Germany later in the year.

Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries said: “We remain on track to complete the acquisition of Virgin Media before the end of the second quarter. We recently received regulatory approval from the European Commission and both companies have scheduled their respective shareholder votes for early June to approve the transaction.

“With a combined customer base of 25 million and an aggregate reach of over 45 million homes passed, we are excited about our collective growth potential and we will remain focused on delivering superior value to customers and shareholders.”

In the first quarter, Liberty’s consolidated revenue increased 9% year-on-year to US$2.77 billion (€2.11 billion). Operating income increased 6% to US$525 million. The firm reported a net loss of US$1 million, compared to a net loss of US$25 million in the same period last year.