European shares dip as VW and Vodafone lose ground

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Vodafone and Liberty Global end asset-swap talks.

When Vodafone confirmed it was talking to Liberty Global, owner of Virgin Media, about a “possible exchange of selected assets,” it suggested that the operator was looking to bulk up ahead of BT’s upcoming EE merger. It’s been several months, but the mobile provider announced today that discussions have been “terminated.” Neither company has given a reason, but Liberty Global chairman John Malone recently indicated that Vodafone would find it difficult to find the money to buy the company outright, even though a broadband consolidation via Virgin Media was most likely on the cards.

Vodafone recently returned to the broadband market, but has seen rivals BT, TalkTalk and Sky all expand their mobile and TV services in the past year. Virgin Media would have provided the perfect base from which to build a true quad-play offering, but it appears Vodafone will now have to go its own way. Vodafone [on Monday] announces that discussions with Liberty Global have terminated.” Vodafone and Liberty have overlapping businesses in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. Vodafone denied that the talks included the option of a merger but analysts said the UK firm could have raised £30bn by selling its operations in Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific to make a merger with Liberty possible. Mobile phone operators and other communications companies are jostling for position as the once distinct worlds of telephones, television and broadband are pulled together by technological advances.

BT is re-entering the UK mobile phone market after agreeing to buy EE and has spent almost £1bn for live Premier League broadcasting rights over three years to compete with Sky.

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