Deal would create a stronger competitor to Europe’s Deutsche Telekom
British telecoms operator Vodafone Group has agreed an £16bn (€18.4bn) deal to buy Liberty Global’s cable networks oerations in Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.
Vodafone said combining the companies’ operations would create the first truly converged pan-European company able to take on former incumbents like Deutsche Telekom.
Mike Fries, chief executive of Liberty Global, also said the deal would create a stronger competitor to Deutsche Telekom — which is Europe’s largest telecoms provider by revenue and owns T-Mobile. “Germany is screaming for a challenger which it doesn’t have today,” he added.
The two companies, which already have a joint venture in the Netherlands which is excluded from the deal, restarted talks in February about Vodafone buying Liberty’s assets in the other continental European countries where they overlap.
The deal is likely to face a lengthy regulatory approval process, with rivals such as Deutsche arguing that it will give Vodafone too much control of the market.
Both sides are targeting a completion by around the middle of 2019.