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    Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

    This is a discussion on Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent within the General chat forums, part of the Community channel category; Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent - ISPreview UK Some of Vodafone ’s most significant shareholders, ...

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      Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

      Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent - ISPreview UK
      Some of Vodafone’s most significant shareholders, each with stakes worth billions of pounds, are putting pressure on the mobile giant to enter into a massive £120 billion merger deal with Liberty Global, the world spanning cable operator behind Virgin Media in the United Kingdom.

      Such a deal, which could require Vodafone to sell off their non-European businesses (e.g. India, Turkey and South Africa) for around £30bn and then merge their EU business with Liberty Global, would give the mobile giant access to a massive fixed line network and enable it to better compete with major telecoms operators like BT. The latter assumes BT’s £12.5bn purchase of mobile operator EE is eventually given the regulatory all clear by March 2016.

      The speculation follows comments made by US billionaire John Malone, who last week signalled that he might be interested in a merger with Vodafone’s EU businesses and even suggested they would be a “great fit“. But such a deal would take a long time to fully complete and might face some complex regulatory hurdles in different markets.

      John Malone, Chairman of Liberty Global, said:

      We’ve looked at that from our side and there would be very substantial synergies if we could find a way to work together or combine the companies with respect to western Europe.

      Is there a great fit in Germany? Absolutely. Is there a great fit in the U.K.? Absolutely. Is there a great fit in Holland? Absolutely. There’s the promise of creating enormous shareholder value if we could work it out
      .”
      Meanwhile Vodafone’s CEO, Vittorio Colao, responded by saying that if such a deal could be found to “make sense” then they would consider it. Obviously some of Vodafone’s key shareholders are now so keen that they might well be attempting to use their weight in order to force the operator’s board to at least review the idea.

      Mind you it wouldn’t be the first time that Virgin Media or parent Liberty Global have been loosely linked with Vodafone and a similar story surfaced in September 2014 (here), but so far little has happened. The difference this time is that Vodafone’s shareholders are starting to push with their pockets and that’s a difficult signal to ignore.

      But such a deal might also unnerved rival mobile operators, specifically O2 and Three UK that over the next year could complete their own merger. Neither operator has a strong independent fixed line telecoms and broadband base, which would put them at a distinct disadvantage against the BT + EE and Vodafone + Virgin Media (Liberty Global) heavyweights.

      At the same time approximately one quarter of Vodafone’s sales come from its global corporate networks, which would be hurt if the operator was forced to sell off their non-EU businesses.


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      Re: Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

      Yes, I read about this earlier in the week on the financial pages. Vodafone share prices seems to have gone up as a result. If it goes ahead, it means yet another competitor (already ahead off Sky in the "quad play" game) will become an even stronger entity!

      Read elsewhere that Vodafone are preparing to re-enter the fixed line phone and fibre broadband market.
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      Re: Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

      I think that opinion will be divided on this one.

      On the one hand it would provide a good source of competition with a firm such as Sky. The fact that Vodafone currently has a good international presence is good.

      On the other hand Carphone Warehouse, now a company in its own right, has strong historical ties with VM. This could be a nail in the coffin for them.

      We've known for some time that Vodafone has a large pot of cash available to use. If it were to join forces with Liberty Gold, I wonder just how much would be spent on increasing the expansion plans for VM n this country? Many will argue that this could be a good thing.

      Yes Vodafone are looking to get back in the UK broadband game. Add to that their expressed desire to take on IPTV too. Of course this might be a conflict with VM and these plans could be shelved or redrawn should they join forces with VM, but it does indicate a desire for them to expand into this area of the market one way or the other. Perhaps VM might consider getting into the IPTV game too for those potential customers who can't get cable.

      I hope that this will all signal a positive change in the competition in the UK market. This I hope will result in better prices and better products for us the consumers. However I fear that the opposite would be true for the USA.

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      Re: Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

      Where would this leave Virgin Mobile UK though (which runs on the EE mobile network) as they only just recently re-noegotiated another multi-year contract with EE (last year I believe)?

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      Re: Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

      Such financial transactions (i.e. Liberty Global & Vodafone) tend to take several months to sort out.

      I suspect that VM's deal with EE is not the only clash of interests that they will have globally. Vodafone UK has a deal with Sky so that they can bundle NowTV with the new mobile contracts.
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      Re: Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

      In my opinion, from the point of view of getting a jump start into the "quad play" market, Sky need to buy (or be bought by) either Vodafone or Hutchinson asap. But somehow I don't see that happening anytime soon! I've been saying for quite some time that Sky has been very slow out of the blocks on getting into "quad play" (for heaven sake even BT woke up and smelled the coffee a while back!) and the MVNO deal with O2 to start in 2016 is too little and too late.
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      Re: Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

      I've been saying for a while that Sky seems to have ground to a halt being innovative. Nothing new or exciting has come out in an age and surely quad play is a no brainer.

      I do begin to wonder if there are more fundamentals at Sky and perhaps the money pot has ran dry.
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      Re: Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

      Well they've certainly spent a lot of money on Premier League football coverage for the next 3 years. Is that to the detriment of other innovation? Maybe so. I also think that they have perhaps been focussed on the wrong things, which has consequently put them on the back foot when it comes to things like "quad play".
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      Re: Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

      Sky used to be the leader in a lot of things. They are now closing Europe's only 3D TV channel next month.

      Ok Sky are finally in a position where they will be launching an FTTP product later this year, but the number of homes that are going to be connected is minuscule when compared to the potential number of homes in the UK.

      The launch of 4K UHD TV is supposed to be happening later this year too, but you can already stream 4K content from both Netflix and YouTube.

      Sure Sky have a large library of content available to be downloaded via their Sky+ HD STBs, but there are many limitations. For example you still can't record something on one STB and watch it on another.
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      Re: Vodafone Moot Monster £120bn Merger with Virgin Media UK Parent

      Sky are also not exactly coming out with state-of-the-art broadband routers either...the are still about 3 generations of router behind everyone else.
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