Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries and Vodafone counterpart Vittorio Colao distanced themselves from talk that the companies’ joint venture in the Netherlands will lead to similar deals across Europe.
Speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference, Fries said the Dutch deal was “probably not” a template for more deals, adding that the two companies were not in discussions about anything else right now, reported Reuters.
The European Commission cleared the joint venture between the two companies in the Netherlands in August, in a deal that combines Vodafone’s mobile arm with Liberty Global’s fixed line entity Ziggo, thus increasing competition against incumbent KPN.
The Dutch tie-up came after talks of a wider European partnership between the two companies collapsed.
And speaking at the same conference, Colao said the Dutch venture had started off “very well”, but echoed Fries’ comments that this did not mean the companies’ would strike a wider merger.
“Each market is different, they have different objectives in other markets, we have different strengths in different markets, but of course it helps,” he said.
However, Colao appeared to suggest something could happen in the future, stating that regulators could be more open to the idea, particularly if the joint entity served to counter the influence of a country’s incumbent market leader.
“They see that in each country there is KPN, a Telecom Italia, a Deutsche Telekom, a BT, that are at the end of the day still incredibly, I would not want to use the word dominant, but let’s see influential. And you want a counter force, and we could be that counter force”.