Talks between Liberty Global and Vodafone have been revived in recent weeks with a potential £140 billion (US$206.9 billion) merger in the offing, according to a UK press report.
According to the Daily Mail, Liberty chairman John Malone (pictured) instigated new merger talks in the past few weeks, and major investors for both Liberty and Vodafone have responded favourably to the prospect of a “friendly merger”.
The report claims that the “wheels have been put in motion” for a huge deal between the two companies to be concluded in early 2016, after corporate financiers worked “long hours” over the festive period on the possible merger.
Liberty and Vodafone’s respective share prices climbed on December 31 after the Mail report was published the previous day, though neither company has commented on the renewed deal speculation.
Vodafone previously issued a statement in September 2015 saying that early-stage discussions – regarding a possible exchange of “selected assets” with Liberty Global – had been terminated.
Earlier in the same month, Malone said that the two companies had not been able to come up with a combination or asset swap that would work for both partners, telling Bloomberg that while “there’s a price at which Liberty could be bought”, a full merger or acquisition was unlikely.
Vodafone confirmed it was in early discussions with Liberty in June 2015, but said at the time: “There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor is there certainty with respect to which assets will ultimately be involved.”