John Malone’s Liberty Global Completes Acquisition of Ireland’s TV3

As had been widely expected, John Malone’s Liberty Global has completed its acquisition of Ireland’s commercial broadcaster TV3. The deal was made between Liberty Global’s UPC Ireland and UK private equity group Doughty Hanson, which bought TV3 in 2006 for $292 million.

“We’re pleased to welcome TV3 to the Liberty Global family,” said UPC Ireland CEO Magnus Ternsjo. “The investment we are making today secures the long-term future of TV3. With its wide range of home-grown programming, TV3 holds a unique place in the hearts of Irish viewers.”

Liberty Global is the largest cable company in the world, with 27 million customers across 14 countries. Assets include Virgin Media, Unity Media and Ziggo. The company is looking to diversify its offering by owning more wireless assets so it can get into the quad play business: offering TV, landline phone, broadband Internet and wireless service.

It has steadily increased its presence in the UK market, buying pay-TV and broadband company Virgin Media for $24 billion in 2013 and buying out BSkyB’s 6.4% stake in ITV last year for $750 million. The company is also currently in talks with Vodafone over an asset sharing agreement with the telco that some believe may lead to Liberty’s eventual takeover of the company. Vodafone reps have denied the talks are related to an acquisition. Vodafone has itself been linked to an expression of interest in the Murdoch family’s 39% stake in pan Euro TV giant Sky.

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