EU Commission approves Liberty Global’s $22.5 billion acquisition of Virgin Media

EU Commission approves Liberty Global’s $22.5 billion acquisition of Virgin Media

The European Commission has announced that it has approved the proposed acquisition of UK cable operator Virgin Media by the US company Liberty Global under the EU Merger Regulation, as expected.

This removes the final hurdle for the massive deal to proceed.

The transaction has an enterprise value of €17.2 billion or approximately $22.5 billion, the EU Commission confirms in a statement. That number factors in debt – the companies pegged the equity value of takeover deal at $15.8 billion when it was first announced, as Reuters notes.

Although Liberty Global is headquartered in the US, the telecom and television juggernaut is actually one of the largest broadband providers outside of the United States and particularly in Europe.

The EU Commission’s investigation found, however, that the transaction would not raise competition concerns because Virgin Media and Liberty Global operate cable networks in different member states (Liberty doesn’t operate in the UK) and “because of the merged entity’s limited market position in the wholesale of TV channels in the UK and Ireland”.

The EU Commission decided the merged entity would still face “sufficient competitive constraint” from other players on the field, including TV content providers and competing pay-TV retailers.

The Virgin Media deal will help Liberty Global go head-to-head with News Corp.-owned BSkyB, Britain’s top pay-TV provider.

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Image credit: Andrew Cowie for AFP / Getty Images

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