US-BASED cable group Liberty Global is bidding €1.96bn (£1.57bn) to take full control of Belgium's Telenet, seeking to strengthen its grip on a company benefiting from expansion across a range of telecoms services.
Shares in Telenet, which also raised its profit and revenue forecasts yesterday, leapt 13 per cent to as high as €35.3 – just above Liberty’s offer of €35 a share and signalling some investors think the US firm may have to pay more.
Liberty already owns 50.4 per cent of Telenet, which offers television, broadband and mobile phone services in the Dutch-speaking north of Belgium. It has been the controlling shareholder since 2007.
Liberty, which has 19.6m customers in 13 countries, fully owns its other European operations, most of which are under the UPC brand. In Germany, it operates as Unitymedia and Kabel BW. Other European operations are in the Netherlands, Slovakia, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Telenet said its board would review the offer and by law it had to appoint independent experts to analyse Liberty’s bid.
Liberty said its bid represented a 14 per cent premium over Telenet’s average closing price over the past month.
City A.M. Reporter