Vodafone and Liberty Global revive merger talks

03 February 2016 |

Vodafone and Liberty Global have resumed talks to discuss a potential combination of their assets in the Netherlands.

The announcement by Vodafone marks a turnaround for the two operators who ended talks over what is said to be a £120 billion merger of their European businesses last September. Both parties have been in discussions over a possible exchange of selected assets since June 2015. 

“Vodafone Group confirms it is in discussions with Liberty Global regarding the creation of a joint venture in the Netherlands that would incorporate both companies’ local operating businesses," said the company.  

"The discussions are ongoing and do not extend beyond the creation of a joint venture in the Netherlands. There is no certainty as to when or whether any transaction will be agreed,” it added.

Billionaire Karl Malone, who owns Liberty Global, said in September 2015 that both companies were not able to find a “mutually successful” way to combine their networks. 

Earlier in May, he said a merger with Vodafone would be a “great fit” for his operations in western Europe. “Is there a great fit in Germany? Absolutely. Is there a great fit in the UK? Absolutely. Is there a great fit in Holland? Absolutely. There’s the promise of creating enormous shareholder value if we could work it out,” said Malone. 

At the end of September 2015, Vodafone Group reported 5.13 million mobile and 73,000 fixed broadband Dutch customers while Liberty Global – through its ownership of Dutch cable firm Ziggo – posted 9 million TV, broadband and fixed-line customers.