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LONDON – John Malone‘s Liberty Global said Friday that it has completed the acquisition of U.K. cable giant Virgin Media in a stock and cash merger valued at about $24 billion.
The deal adds a 14th market to the international cable operator, whose TV subscriber count exceeded that of Comcast’s as of the end of the first quarter when including Virgin Media. Beyond Chile and Puerto Rico, Liberty Global has concentrated its presence in Europe.
Said Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries: “This is a great day for customers, employees and shareholders of both Liberty Global and Virgin Media. Together we now provide over 47 million video, voice and broadband services to 25 million customers located principally in 12 European countries.”
He added: “Virgin Media will continue to thrive under the leadership of Tom Mockridge, who starts as CEO today, with the support of a fantastic management team which includes both Liberty Global and Virgin Media executives.”
Mockridge, a former longtime News Corp. executive who previously ran the News International U.K. newspaper arm at Rupert Murdoch‘s conglomerate, said: “Virgin Media has become one of the U.K.’s most powerful media brands thanks to both the loyalty of its customers and the energy of its employees. I am fortunate to be joining the company at this important inflection point in its development.”
Liberty Global’s Class A, Class B and Class C shares will begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on Monday. The stock of Virgin Media will stop trading after Friday’s market close.
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