A few weeks ago when pressed on whether Liberty Global would bid for Kabel BW, Shane O’Neill, chief strategy officer, deflected the question by stating Ziggo was a more prized target as ‘it is a much better fit.’
Two weeks ago Liberty beat out the competition to buy Kabel BW and now seems set to try and acquire Ziggo too. O’Neill told the FT Liberty might bid to pre-empt the IPO of Ziggo planned by its private equity backers Cinven and Warburg Pincus. It is thought the IPO would aim to raise up to €7 billion.
O’Neill said: “We have a track record of not being put off by the prospects of an IPO. It never bothers us. These guys are motivated by money and if you show up with a more attractive bid, they will go for you.”
If it succeeded Liberty – which owns UPC in Holland – would have a defacto national monopoly. O’Neil points out this is the situation that exists in Spain and the UK and he believed there would not be a problem with Dutch regulators.
Ziggo has more than 3m customers and had revenues of €1.4 billion in 2010, up 7.1 per cent on the previous year, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, excluding the continuing costs of a previous merger, of €783 million, up 12.7 per cent.
Ziggo said it had made no decision on an IPO.