Liberty Global to return to Germany with FTTH joint venture

Liberty Global looks set for a return to the German market two years after selling its networks in the country to Vodafone.

Liberty Global Ventures, the investment arm of the cable giant has teamed up with InfraVia Capital Partners, a private equity firm specialising in infrastructure and technology investments, to create a new joint venture that will assess the opportunity to build fibre-to-the-home networks in the country.

The 50:50 JV, the creation of which is subject to regulatory approval, will take what Liberty Global describes as a modular approach, with the first phase targeting a small number of municipalities in Germany.

If certain success criteria are met during the first phase, the new outfit will look to invest further.

Liberty Global will bring the experience and expertise it gained through its ownership of cable networks Unitymedia and Kabel Baden-Württemburg in North-Rhine Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemburg before selling up to Vodafone in 2019.

The company said this experience includes working closely with municipalities and regional authorities in Germany as Unitymedia expanded its network in the country, which reached 13 million homes passed and 7.2 million customers by the time of its sale to Vodafone.

Robert Dunn, managing director, connectivity investments, Liberty Global, said: “Liberty Networks Germany offers an exciting opportunity to leverage our expertise in deploying critical broadband infrastructure in a market we know very well. We’re also excited by the attractive returns offered by greenfield fibre network deployment in a country where millions of homes don’t yet have access to fast and reliable broadband. We look forward to working in partnership with InfraVia as we take a controlled approach to the opportunity as we move forward.”

Bruno Candès, Partner, InfraVia Capital Partners, said: “We are excited to be working with Liberty Global to explore this opportunity in Germany, seizing on the ever-increasing data usage and the acceleration of work from home patterns. We look forward to leveraging the investment capacity of our fifth infrastructure fund and our leading expertise in digital infrastructure investments during this project.”

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