This would be John Malone’s most ambitious effort to become a media power in the UK, the Financial Times says — noting that “several people familiar with the situation” believe a bid “could be announced in the coming days.” The paper also says that a move on the cable company, which had nearly 4.9M video subscribers at the end of September, could pit Malone against his long-time frenemy Rupert Murdoch. News Corp owns 39.1% of satellite broadcaster BSkyB. Malone has long been interested in Virgin. In 2007 he said that his company was “doing our homework” to compete in an auction if it took place. The previous year he and Murdoch ended a two year battle that began when Liberty quietly bought a 16.3% stake in News Corp. Murdoch won back the shares by giving Malone a 38.5% stake in DirecTV, as well as $550M and three regional sports networks. Malone’s Liberty Global now has 19.6M cable customers in 13 countries, including 11 in Europe.

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