After years of on-and-off talks between Vodafone and U.S. billionaire John Malone’s Liberty Global, it’s finally happening: Britain’s Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest mobile operators, is about to reshape Europe’s fragmented media and telecom market with its 18.4 billion euro ($ 22 billion dollar) deal with Liberty.
The deal was announced on Wednesday, and will cover Liberty Global’s operations in 4 European countries — Germany, Hungary, Romania and Czech Republic. It will also transform Vodafone — the largest mobile phone operator — to the cable and broadband TV giant across Europe, providing more scale to bundle internet, phone and TV services.
With this deal, Vodafone’s CEO, Vittorio Calao is reshaping spheres of influence in a way that has already caused a harsh rebuke from his closest rival, Deutsche Telekom AG, as it’s seen as a threat to the company in its very own home market. But Mr Calao has his answer on this one: “The EU has always been talking about the need to have cross-country competitors in telecoms. This is actually the first and biggest creation of one of those, both in mobile and fixed.“
Officially, Vodafone will pay Liberty Global 10.8 billion euros of cash and assume 7.6 billion euros of debt.