May 7, 2020

Liberty Global and Telefónica dial up changes in ‘deal of decade’

The hot topic on the agenda was a proposed deal to combine Virgin Media, a British cable network and Liberty's main asset, with mobile network O2, owned by Telefónica. Liberty Global's appetite to do a deal, which sharpened during the Florida trip, was reciprocated by executives at Telefónica's headquarters in Madrid and sparked a series of discreet meetings during February and March in London hotels. One Liberty Global insider argued that "Plan A" in the past had always been a sale of Virgin Media to Vodafone and that the O2 deal could smoke out a rival bid. Vodafone and Liberty Global held talks over an asset swap in 2015 and have worked together on a number of deals since. In the UK, Virgin Media signed a deal last year to use Vodafone's network for its mobile customer base for 5G. Vodafone declined to comment.

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