May 9, 2018

Opening Quote: Vodafone goes bananas; Imperial; ‘Spoons  

John Malone, the US billionaire who controls European cable company Liberty Global, once described a merger with Vodafone as like trying to take a "Big banana" out of a jar. As first reported by the Financial Times, the deal that Vodafone and Mr Malone just announced- or unscrewed - involves the UK company buying Liberty's German cable group Unitymedia and three smaller eastern European assets, in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. Vodafone estimates the cost and capex synergies at approximately €535m per year before integration costs, by the fifth year after deal completion. Vodafone will pay for the acquisition using existing cash, new debt facilities and around €3bn of convertible bonds. Liberty will be left with a reduced, er, fruit salad of European assets, including Virgin Media in the UK and a joint venture with Vodafone in the Netherlands.

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