Liberty Global to buy Virgin Media for $16B
Virgin Media's U.S. shares fell 72 cents, or 1.6 percent, to close at $44.89 on Wednesday, a day after surging almost 18 percent to close at $45.61 after the company acknowledged it was in acquisition talks with Liberty Global. Liberty Global's stock fell $1.82, or 2.7 percent, to $66.06.
Liberty Global's Englewood, Colo., headquarters and main U.S. offices will remain in place, and its shares will continue to trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market. But the company will change its legal headquarters to the U.K. by becoming a subsidiary of a new U.K.-based holding company, which Fries said will give it more strategic and financial flexibility.
Virgin Media will continue to operate under its namesake brand in the U.K.
The deal remains subject to approval by the shareholders of both companies and by regulators. Malone, who holds more than 35 percent of Liberty Global's stock, said he will vote in favor of the deal. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.
Existing Virgin Media shareholders will get about 36 percent of Liberty Global's outstanding shares and about 26 percent of the voting rights, the companies said. In addition, one of the company's board members will join Liberty Global's board. Berkett doesn't plan to stay with the combined company once the deal closes.
The companies added that they expect about $180 million in annual costs savings once they are fully combined. Liberty Global wouldn't say whether there will be any staff reductions as part of the cost cutting.
The moves are also expected to boost Liberty Global's cash flow and allow it to speed up its stock buyback plan. In connection with the acquisition, Liberty Global said it plans to buy back about $3.5 billion worth of its shares over a two-year period after the acquisition closes.
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