Liberty Global CEO rules out Vodafone Dutch JV repeat – Mobile World Live

Liberty Global CEO rules out Vodafone Dutch JV repeat

19 JAN 2017

Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries (pictured) said a joint venture with Vodafone in the Netherlands is going well, but will not be replicated in other European markets where both companies have a presence, Reuters reported.

The companies completed the combination of their assets in the Netherlands earlier this month, creating a converged operator with annual revenue of more than €4 billion called VodafoneZiggo. The move was initiated in February 2016, just a few months after the abandonment of talks on a European asset swap deal.

However, at the World Economic Forum Fries said: “I don’t see us doing those types of structural transactions in other markets,” although he did not rule out the possibility of making other types of deals with the operator.

This echoes the views he and Vodafone Group counterpart Vittorio Colao expressed at a conference in November.

Fries explained the size of the assets and the market positions of the companies in the Netherlands were reasons the joint venture made sense, adding: “It’s only been three weeks, but I will tell you we’re encouraged.”

The new company offers quadplay services and launched with almost 15 million existing revenue generating units, comprising around 5.2 million mobile connections, 2.5 million fixed line telephony, 3.1 million high-speed broadband and 4 million video customers.

“We will immediately start looking at products and services that are quadplay in nature and we have a management team that is the best of both,” Fries said.

Talks between Vodafone Group and Liberty Global over a possible exchange of business assets in Europe collapsed in September 2015 following months of negotiations, after the companies failed to agree on the value of their respective businesses.

Analysts believe “a wider tie-up still makes sense” as the fixed and mobile markets converge, Reuters reported. However, the valuation issue remains the biggest stumbling block.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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