U.S. cable group Liberty Global has agreed to buy Ziggo in a cash and share deal valuing the Dutch operator at €10-billion ($13.7-billion) to expand its reach across Europe.
Ziggo, which in October rejected an earlier offer from Liberty as too low, said in a joint statement on Monday that the current offer implied a price of 34.53 euros per share compared with Friday’s close of 33.25 euros.
Liberty, controlled by U.S. tycoon John Malone, has built its leading position in a broad stretch of Europe from Ireland to Romania via acquisitions over the past decade, and already owns 28.5 per cent of Ziggo.
Buying the rest will 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.
Under the terms of the deal, Liberty Global will pay a stock dividend of one class C share for each existing class A, B or C share in early March.
Upon completion of this, Ziggo shareholders will receive 11 euros in cash, 0.2282 Liberty class A shares and 0.5630 class C stock, 74 prior to completion of the stock dividend) for each Ziggo share that they hold.
The offer represents a 22 per cent premium to the closing share price of Ziggo on Oct 15, 2013, the day before Ziggo announced it had received a preliminary proposal from Liberty.