Report: Liberty Global, Vodafone ‘resume talks’

Liberty Global and Vodafone have resumed talks about a possible corporate tie-up, according to a report by The Register.

The online news service, citing unnamed sources, reported that Liberty Global’s chief development officer Andrea Salvato is leading Liberty’s negotiations.

Citing what it describes as a well-placed source, The Register says that Vodafone could sell its UK operation to Liberty, while Liberty could sell its German arm, Unitymedia, to Vodafone, as a result of a deal between the pair.

The talks are taking place at Vodafone’s headquarters in Newbury, where a floor of the building has been sealed off, with access granted only to senior staff from both companies, according to the news site.

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said at the Mobile World Congress last month that a deal with Liberty would be “an attractive combination” but added that no deal was currently “on the table”, and there has been no official confirmation on any talks since then.

Also at Mobile World Congress, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said that restrictions on consolidation could prevent investment in 5G networks in Europe. Asked about Liberty’s relationship with Vodafone, Fries said that mergers and acquisitions were a “market by market decision” and declined to answer when questioned whether his company should merge with the mobile giant.

Speaking at the recent Cable Congress event in Brussels, Vodafone Germany chief commercial officer said that consolidation would benefit the industry but declined to comment on any future activity by the company, which controls the former Kabel Deutschland, Germany’s largest cable network provider.

Vodafone and Liberty Global completed the creation of their Dutch 50:50 joint venture, combining Liberty’s Dutch cable network Ziggo with Vodafone Netherlands’ mobile base, in January.

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