Liberty Global Asset Swap Talks End Without Deal, Vodafone Says

John Malone in 2012 - H 2015
Associated Press

Vodafone previously emphasized it was not in discussions with John Malone's international cable company about "a combination of the two companies."

U.K. telecom giant Vodafone Group said Monday that talks with John Malone's international cable operator Liberty Global about possible asset swaps have ended. The talks were confirmed in the summer amid continued consolidation talk in the cable and telecommunications sectors.

Vodafone had confirmed discussions between the companies, but had also emphasized that they were not in talks about a merger.

Both companies have operations in Western Europe, including in the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands, which analysts have long said could potentially be combined or swapped.

Last year, there was market chatter that Vodafone could be planning a takeover of Liberty Global, which is led by chairman Malone and CEO Mike Fries. Over the years, analysts and bankers have often highlighted potential deals between the companies.

Liberty Global has focused on broadband as its core service and offering video, telephony and more in addition to it. Vodafone has been eyeing cable systems as the cable and telecom industries continue to concentrate on the quadruple play of pay TV, broadband, telephony and wireless services.

Vodafone in 2013 beat out Liberty Global to acquire Kabel Deutschland, Germany's largest cable operator, for $10.1 billion. Back then, there was talk that it could sell at least parts to Liberty Global over time.

"Vodafone today announces that discussions with Liberty Global have terminated," the telecom giant said Monday.