Vodafone talks to Liberty Global over asset swap

Michael Bow
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Vodafone is the UK’s biggest telecom firm
TELECOMS giant Vodafone yesterday confirmed it was in talks with Virgin Media owner Liberty Global about plans to swap parts of its businesses – but ruled out a full blown merger.

The FTSE 100 giant said it was in early stage discussions with Liberty over a possible exchange of certain assets both companies own.

It said there was no certainty about which assets would be involved in any swap.

Liberty owner John Malone had indicated he would like do a deal with Vodafone last month. He said both companies would be a “great fit” together, sparking a seven per cent rise in Vodafone shares.

Shares in the British group, which has a £66bn market cap, fell 1.7 per cent yesterday as hopes of an outright merger faded.

Telecom companies in the UK have been scrambling to offer customers complete media packages comprised of mobile phone, broadband, television and landline services.

BT Group snapped up EE earlier this year to give it a mobile phone network and help it compete with rivals like Virgin Media and Vodafone.

Liberty Global owns a number of assets in continental Europe alongside Virgin Media, including Germany’s second biggest cable company Unitymedia

Meanwhile, Vodafone owns Germany’s biggest cable company Kabel Deutschland, which it bought in 2013.

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