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Analyst raises prospect of Vodafone Liberty Global deal

Vodafone's shareholders have approved the sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless

Liberty Global shares rose sharply yesterday on speculation that Vodafone could use cash freed up by its exit from  Verizon Wireless to acquire the international cable giant.

Liberty Global shares rose by almost 4 per cent in late trading, peaking at $79.14 a share before closing at $78.59, after Macquarie Equities analyst Amy Yong published a note speculating that Verizon could use some of the cash freed up by an agreement to sell its stake in the US venture to bid for Liberty Global.

“Given the need for scale and scarcity of European cable assets, there are likely significant synergies in a Vodafone-Liberty Global combination,” said Yong in the note.

Vodafone and Liberty Global recently competed to bid for Germany cable leader Kabel Deutschland, with Vodafone emerging as the winner. Liberty Global already owns the other major regional operator in Germany, Unitymedia Kabel BW.

The note came after yesterday’s confirmation by Vodafone that it is in talks with US telco Verizon over the sale of its 45 per cent stake in a wireless joint venture. According to recent reports, Verizon could have to pay a massive US$130 billion for the stake.

“Vodafone notes the recent press speculation and confirms that it is in discussions with Verizon Communications Inc. regarding the possible disposal of Vodafone’s US group whose principal asset is its 45% interest in Verizon Wireless,” said Vodafone in a statement. It added that “there is no certainty that an agreement will be reached”.

The Broadband World Forum is taking place on the 22nd – 24th October 2013 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam. Click here to download a brochure for the event and here to register for a conference pass.

Click here to listen to an audio interview with Mark Giesbers, vice president of video products at Liberty Global.


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