Announcing their results John Malone, head of Liberty Global, said that while the group is looking for more acquisitions in Europe, it will not challenge News Corp for control of British Sky Broadcasting.
Malone told the FT that while plenty of bankers had encouraged him to bid after News was forced to pullout because of the phone hacking scandal; “We enjoy very good relationships with News Corp. In all the transactions we have done with him [Rupert Murdoch, News chair] he has had the greatest integrity, so I am not about to jump and give him a hard time.” Liberty once held an 18 per cent voting stake in News Corp.
Meanwhile, Malone claimed OTT services like Netflix were cables friend not enemies as they needed a broadband access and that gave cable a benefit over DTH rivals. He added that he saw no evidence of cable being hurt by cord-cutting, or consumers cancelling TV subscriptions for online video alternatives.
Mike Fries, chief executive, said Liberty Global saw further consolidation of Europes 7,000 cable companies as a critical strategic goal as the industry needed scale to compete with the likes of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom.
Liberty Global faces obstacles to its plans in Germany, after the national antitrust office said last Friday that in principle it opposed the groups purchase of Kabel Baden-Württemberg, the countrys third-largest cable group, given Malone control of Unitymedia, the number two cable company behind Kabel Deutschland.
The regulator has yet to consider remedies proposed by the company and Fries said he was confident of approval