Liberty Global Wraps Up Sale Of Four European Businesses To Vodafone For $21B

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Liberty Global

Liberty Global has wrapped up the sale of operations in Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic in a transaction valued at $21.3 billion according to U.S. accounting rules.

Net cash proceeds are about $11.3 billion, Liberty Global estimated.

After the transaction, Liberty will still be the No. 1 provider of cable and broadband in Europe. In the Netherlands, it remains a 50-50 partner with a separate Vodafone entity.

The sale process was first announced in May 2018. At the time, the company said the four businesses being sold represented roughly 28% of its consolidated 2017 operating cash flow, which excludes the joint venture in the Netherlands.

In May 2018, Liberty Global CEO called the planned deal “an important and exciting transaction for our customers and employees.” He noted the return on investment in the individual territories. Germany returned six times the investment, he said, “supported by exceptional operating performance over the last seven years during which we grew revenue 60% and operating cash flow 82%.”

The other goal was bringing “a new level of convergence” to customers, Fries said. “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.”

Earlier this week, on Vodafone’s quarterly earnings call, CEO Nick Read said the Liberty Global deal would represent a transformative shift. The company would bulk up its premium, pay-TV offerings. Despite basic subscription erosion, “overall revenues and gross profits continue to expand” in the premium sector.

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