EC Re-starts Clock on Liberty/Ziggo Deal

The European Commission has set a new date of 3rd November 2014 by which it will decide whether to approve or reject Liberty Global’s proposed acquisition of Dutch cable operator Ziggo. Earlier this month, the EC halted its investigation of the deal as it was waiting for Liberty to provide more information (Display Monitor Vol 21 No 31). Sources claimed that Liberty Global has made concessions which would allow the deal to go ahead, including an offer to sell its premium channel Film 1, a promise to maintain access for over-the-top operators such as Netflix and a pledge not to discriminate against rivals that buy its content.

Ziggo and its debt was valued at €10 billion by Liberty Global when the deal was announced in January (Display Monitor Vol 21 No 5). Liberty Global is keen to expand its hold of the European cable market, which accounts for around 90% of the company’s total revenues. Meanwhile, Ziggo’s shareholders voted at an Extraordinary General Meeting this week to approve the sale of the company’s assets and liabilities to Liberty Global. Under the terms of the original offer, Ziggo shareholders had until 10th September to accept Liberty Global’s offer, though this could be extended in light of the EC’s new review date.