Ziggo recommends Liberty Global offer, Coopmans to be new CEO

UPC Netherlands CEO Baptiest Coopmans

UPC Netherlands CEO Baptiest Coopmans

The board of Dutch cable leader Ziggo has recommended a €35.74 per share offer by Liberty Global to acquire the 71.5% of the company that it doesn’t already own.  Liberty has also said that its current Dutch chief Baptiest Coopmans will take over as Ziggo CEO once the deal is complete.

Bert Groenewegen will remain as Ziggo’s chief financial officer once the takeover is complete. Confirmation of the appointments is subject to the offer being declared unconditional.

According to Liberty Global, the offer represents a 47% premium on the March 2013 share price of €24.30, prior  to its acquisition of its initial 12.65% in the cable operator.

The offer period for the shares will last from July 2 until September 10, unless extended.

Liberty Global’s moves comes despite a decision by the European Commission in May to investigate the deal on fears that it could restrict competition. The Commission has expressed concern about the strengthened position of the combination of Ziggo and Liberty Global’s local unit UPC Netherlands in negotiating deals with content suppliers and fears that it could lead other players in the market to coordinate or hold back on investment in the market. The EC this week rejected a request by Dutch regulator the ACM to review the deal, arguing it was better places to take a decision.

The EC’s enquiry is due to conclude by October 17.

Liberty Global is offering a premium on its earlier offer of €34.53 a share, which would have valued Ziggo at about €10 billion. That offer itself represented an upward revision of an earlier offer that had been rejected by Ziggo’s board.

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