US cable group Liberty Global is in takeover talks with Dutch operator Ziggo, its latest move to consolidate the sector in Europe in a deal analysts say could cost around €5 billion.
Ziggo, which rejected an approach from the company controlled by John Malone in October as too low, said no decision has yet been made about a full takeover offer.
Liberty has built its leading position in the European cable market via acquisitions over the past decade to tap demand for broadband, TV and telephone services, and already owns 28.5 per cent of Ziggo. Buying the rest would increase Liberty’s presence in the Low Countries, where it owns Ziggo’s Dutch competitor UPC, as well as a majority stake in Belgian group Telenet, the main cable group in the north of Belgium.
Liberty also owns Germany’s second-largest cable operator UnityMedia and bought Britain’s Virgin Media in February.