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Liberty extends Europe reach with Ziggo takeover


By Philip Blenkinsop BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. cable group Liberty Global has agreed to buy Ziggo in a cash and share deal valuing the Dutch operator at 10 billion euros ($13.7 billion) to expand its reach across Europe. Ziggo, which in October rejected an earlier offer from Liberty as too low, said in a joint statement on Monday that the current offer implied a price of 34.53 euros per share compared with Friday’s close of 33.25 euros. Liberty, controlled by U.S. tycoon John Malone, has built its leading position in a broad stretch of Europe from Ireland to Romania via acquisitions over the past decade, and already owns 28.5 percent of Ziggo. Buying the rest will increase Liberty’s presence in the Low Countries, where it owns Ziggo’s Dutch competitor UPC, as well as a majority stake in Belgian group Telenet, the main cable group in the north of Belgium.

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