Vodafone is to buy the majority of Liberty Global’s European assets in a £16bn deal it says will make it “the leading next generation network” on the continent and allow it to offer bundles of mobile, cable television and broadband services to consumers.
The deal includes Liberty Global’s businesses in Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic but excludes its UK and Ireland business, Virgin Media.
Liberty Global will also retain its cable and broadband businesses in Belgium, Switzerland, Poland and Slovakia.
Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said: “This transaction will create the first truly converged pan-European champion of competition.
“It represents a step change in Europe’s transition to a Gigabit Society and a transformative combination for Vodafone that will generate significant value for shareholders.
“We are committed to accelerating and deepening investment in next generation mobile and fixed networks, building on Vodafone’s track record of ensuring that customers benefit from the choice of a strong and sustainable challenger to dominant incumbent operators.
“Vodafone will become Europe’s leading next generation network owner, serving the largest number of mobile customers and households across the EU.”
Mike Fries, Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Global, commented: “We have a rich history at Liberty Global of successfully developing and reshaping our business to drive innovation, advance customer services and create significant value for shareholders.
“This is one of those moments.”
“This is also an important and exciting transaction for our customers and employees.
“In each of these markets, the combination of Liberty Global and Vodafone’s businesses will transform the competitive landscape and bring a new level of convergence to customers.
“Now more than ever, Europe needs strong competition from scaled national challengers willing and able to invest in next-generation wireless, video and broadband services.”