Vodafone ‘happy with status quo’ on Dutch JV with Liberty Global

Vodafone’s CEO is “happy with the status quo” of the company’s Dutch joint-venture with Liberty Global and believes that VodafoneZiggo “plays a good role in the portfolio” of the company’s assets.

Answering an analyst question on the Dutch JV following Vodafone’s release of fiscal Q3 numbers at the end of last week, CEO Nick Read said that he was “very pleased with the progress of the Dutch JV”, which he said was moving into a “growth profile”.

Read said the unit had strong momentum and would deliver further synergies this year and said it was “a strong asset” that would benefit from the reduction in the number of major telco players in the market from four to three as a result of the merger of T-Mobile and Tele-2, which was completed earlier this month.

VodafoneZiggo has yet to post its numbers for the quarter ending December. The future of the 50:50 JV has been the subject of speculation. Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries made it clear last year that the unit would most likely be subject to a sale to Vodafone or a buyout of Vodafone’s stake in the medium term.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia Conference in the US in September, Fries said that would have to decide if it was “a buyer or a seller”.

“The business may be on the point of turning,” he said. “But there will be a moment in the next 24 months where we have to decide – and they have to decide – if we are buyers or sellers of that business and we will have to make that decision at the time.”

On Vodafone’s analyst call, Read also said he remained “very confident” about the acquisition of Liberty Global’s Unitymedia from Liberty Global and about the process of the acquisition, currently undergoing a regulatory review, and the business case for the merger.

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