The cash and stock deal worth $23.3 billion will put Liberty Global’s owner John Malone in direct competition with Rupert Murdoch, whose media empire owns 39 percent of Virgin Media’s pay-TV rival BSkyB.
Following the deal, about 80 percent of Liberty Global's revenue will come from five European countries: the UK, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. "Adding Virgin Media to our large and growing European operations is a natural extension of the value creation strategy we've been successfully using for over seven years," said Mike Fries, chief executive of Liberty Global.
Alongside the announcement of the deal, Virgin Media reported a 30 percent rise in operating profit to £699.1 million last year, driven by its addition of a record 88,700 new customers to its cable business during the year.
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, who retains a two percent stake in Virgin Media worth about $316 million, said: "This deal is good news for the company, its customers and our people.”