Telecoms giant Vodafone has agreed a $21.7B deal to acquire the cable assets of John Malone’s Liberty Global in a number of European markets.

The move will see the UK telco buy businesses in Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic and will see it bolster its cable TV, broadband internet and mobile services in the region.

However, Liberty Global will retain its UK business Virgin Media. The deal, which has been expected for some months, will now wait for regulatory approval from the European Commission, which is expected to occur mid-2019. LionTree and Goldman Sachs are acting as financial advisers to Liberty Global on the transaction.

Mike Fries, Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Global, said that the deal values its operations at a double digit multiple. “We have a rich history at Liberty Global of successfully developing and reshaping our business to drive innovation, advance customer services and create significant value for shareholders. This is one of those moments.

“This is also an important and exciting transaction for our customers and employees. In each of these markets, the combination of Liberty Global and Vodafone’s businesses will transform the competitive landscape and bring a new level of convergence to customers. Now more than ever, Europe needs strong competition from scaled national challengers willing and able to invest in next-generation wireless, video and broadband services.

He added: “Germany, for example, is dominated by one provider that controls over half the broadband market. As a result, innovation and investment lag other countries in Europe, impacting customer service, next-generation product deployment and broadband speeds. Even together, Liberty Global and Vodafone, whose cable networks don’t compete or overlap, will be half the size of the incumbent operator. It’s time to alter market dynamics by unleashing greater investment and competition.”