Fries: No approach from Ziggo

Mike Fries, Chief Executive of Liberty Global, has suggested the cable investor is not actively seeking to acquire Dutch cable operator Ziggo, despite earlier suggestions from the company’s Chief Strategy Officer Shane O’Neill that Liberty might consider pre-empting an IPO.

Fries told The Denver Post that Ziggo seemed to be “squarely focused on an IPO, and I don’t see us fitting into their plans… They’re not for sale. They’re going public, and we haven’t been approached.”

He admitted that Liberty was “pretty busy on the M&A side, which I think is all part of our strategy to rebalance our geographic reach and focus more squarely on Europe,” noting that it represented about 80 per cent of its revenue. “Europe is our centre of gravity. There’s good reason for that. Western Europe has a very stable macro environment, strong demand for our broadband and digital products, rational competitive characteristics, a very supportive regulatory framework. And Germany is perhaps the poster child for all of that — terrific growth, relatively low broadband penetration throughout the country means great organic upside in broadband growth and a terrific economy. Germany will be our busiest, and by far our fastest-growing, market.

As to further potential acquisitions in Germany, Fries was uncertain, noting that Liberty needed to get the proposed €3.16 billion Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg deal through the local regulatory process. “What would happen beyond that, I wouldn’t say,” he admitted.

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