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Liberty Global Buys 6.4% Stake In ITV; Pays $824M For BSkyB’s Holding

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 12:42am PDT

Liberty Global Buys 6.4% Stake In ITV; Pays $824M For BSkyB’s HoldingJohn Malone’s Liberty Global has been on an acquisitions spree in Europe over the past year, and while the company says it does not intend to make a takeover bid for the whole, it has purchased a 6.4% stake in the UK’s leading commercial broadcaster ITV. Liberty has acquired 259.8 million shares in ITV from BSkyB for approximately £481M ($824M), the company said in a statement early Thursday morning.
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Discovery And Liberty Global Agree To $930M Deal For All3Media

Advanced wokingsThe price, at £550M is less than All3Media‘s majority shareholder Permira originally wanted. But the deal puts the UK production company in the hands of two formidable global TV providers who have created a joint venture for the purchase and vowed to let All3Media remain a stand-alone entity. Discovery and Liberty Global “come with a long-term view of the importance of building a leading global content company and appreciate All3Media’s distinctive philosophy of creative freedom and diversity,” says All3Media Chairman Steve Morrison. The partnership will help his company “to expand further through multiple avenues of growth around the world, including in the U.S. market, which has been a driver for our business for the past several years.” 

Related: Discovery CEO Says He’s Looking At Global Deals But Doesn’t Need To Buy

It’s the latest addition to a new breed of company that some refer to as “mega indies.” This also is a big step for Discovery and Liberty’s international expansion — endorsed by John Malone, who controls nearly 28% of the votes at Liberty Global and 29% at Discovery. Liberty bought Virgin Media in 2013 and earlier this year agreed to pay $9.4B in cash and stock for Dutch cable operator Ziggo. In January, Discovery fast-tracked its acquisition of a controlling stake in Pan-European platform Eurosport, and last year bought the SBS Nordic operations of Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1. The move also lays to rest long percolating rumors that FremantleMedia was poised to acquire All3Media.

Here’s today’s release: Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Danny Trejo & Mischa Barton Star In Italian Crime Thriller ‘Hope Lost’; Liberty Global Completes Acquisition Of Chile’s Leading Cabler; More

By | Friday March 14, 2014 @ 10:00pm PDT

Danny Trejo, Mischa Barton, Michael Madsen Star In AMBI’s ‘Hope Lost’
Danny TrejoMischa Barton 1Danny Trejo, Mischa Barton, Michael Madsen and Daniel Baldwin are set to star in Hope Lost, a crime thriller from Italy’s AMBI Pictures. David Petrucci is directing the film from a screenplay by Francesco Trento, Damiano Giacomelli, Francesco Teresi and Loretta Tersigni. A bored young woman who dreams of the life of soap opera characters meets a mysterious man who charms her away from her small hometown then sells her to a pimp. The cast also includes Andrey Chernishov, Francesca Agostini and Alessia Navarro. Principal photography will begin this month in Rome with Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi and Cosetta Turco producing and Danielle Maloni executive producing.

Liberty Global Acquires Remaining Shares Of Chile’s VTR
Liberty Global said today that it has acquired the remaining 20% of the outstanding shares in both VTR GlobalCom and VTR Wireless in a stock-swap deal. The shares in Chile’s largest cable operator were purchasedLiberty-Global-logo from a subsidiary of Corp Group Holding Inversiones Limitada in exchange for 10.1 million Liberty Global Class C ordinary shares. The purchased shares had a market value of about $422 million, based on Liberty Global’s closing price of $41.80 per share on March 13, 2014.1 The deal gives VTR Finance B.V., the parent entity of Liberty’s recently created Chilean credit pool, 100% of both the Chilean … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Liberty Global Buying Dutch Cabler Ziggo; Epic Pictures Selling ‘Louder Than Words’ At EFM; More

By | Monday January 27, 2014 @ 9:05pm PST

Liberty Global Set To Acquire Dutch Cabler Ziggo
John Malone’s Liberty Global plans to expand its European cable holdings with an agreement to pay $9.4B in cash and stock for DZiggoutch cable operator Ziggo. If regulators approve the deal, then Liberty — which already owns 28.5% of Ziggo — will merge it with UPC, another cable company it owns there. “Our combined operations will reach over 90% of all Dutch households, allowing us to compete more effectively with the other national telecommunications and satellite platforms in the Netherlands, and at the same time generate significant revenue and operating efficiencies,” says Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries. Read More »

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Did AMC Networks Take Itself Off The Market By Agreeing To Buy Chellomedia?

By | Monday October 28, 2013 @ 12:10pm PDT

Today’s agreement to pay $1B for Liberty Global’s international networks company Chellomedia ”dramatically changes the investment thesis” for AMC Networks, BTIG’s Richard Greenfield saysMany believed that the pay TV network company was ripe for a takeover more than two years after Cablevision spun it off. It’s savoring the success of shows including The Walking Dead, Mad Men and the recently wrapped Breaking Bad and a big payoff from the resolution last year of its breach of contract complaint against Dish Network. AMC’s shares are up about 95% since it went public, and +46% over the last 12 months. But Greenfield downgraded AMC to “neutral,” noting that that even though “timing for a sale appeared ideal,” management’s time and attention now “will be shifted to a significant portfolio of global cable network assets.” Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger says the deal means “slower growth, more financial risk, and [AMC] becomes harder to acquire.” But others say that AMC’s long-term prospects look rosier as it expands its global reach.

Related: News Corp Digital Vet Jonathan Miller Joins AMC Networks Board
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AMC Networks To Pay $1B For Liberty Global’s Chellomedia

By | Monday October 28, 2013 @ 3:20am PDT

AMC Networks significantly expands its footprint with the acquisition of Chellomedia, the international content division of John Malone’s Liberty Global. In May, Liberty put the business up for sale, expecting a deal valued at between $800M and $1B, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. AMC, which has actively been increasing its global presence via international programming business, AMC/Sundance Channel Global, will pay $1.035B for Chellomedia. (Scripps Networks Interactive, Turner Broadcasting and Discovery Communications had previously been mentioned as suitors.) Chellomedia produces and distributes TV channels across such territories as the UK, Benelux, Central Europe, Spain and Latin America and reaches about 390 million households. Included in the deal are Chello-branded channels airing genres ranging from movies to entertainment, sports, children’s, lifestyle and documentary programming. Chellomedia’s stakes in joint ventures with A+E Networks, CBS International and other partners also fall under the acquisition, although Liberty will hold onto its Dutch premium channel business. This deal will provide AMC, home to Mad Men and The Walking Dead, with further outlets for programming from AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv. Here’s the official release:

NEW YORK, NY, October 28, 2013 – AMC Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: AMCX) announced today it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of Chellomedia, the international content division of Liberty Global (Nasdaq: LBTYA) for €750 million (approximately $1.035 billion USD). The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

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Liberty Global’s Virgin Media Could Cut Up To 600 Jobs In UK

By | Thursday September 19, 2013 @ 9:07am PDT

John Malone’s Liberty Global acquired the UK’s Virgin Media in a $23B deal in June. In the past year, Britain’s No. 2 pay-TV operator has added 1,000 extra customer service roles while its rival, 21st Century Fox-controlled BSkyB, said in May that it plans to add 550 jobs to meet demand and serve a growing customer base. Now, Virgin is looking at streamlining its senior and middle management ranks with the possible axing of 600 positions. The cuts would amount to about 4% of the company’s workforce and are intended to “find the best shape” for Virgin and help build an “agile and efficient” organization, I’m told. After the acquisition by Liberty, Virgin CEO Neil Berkett exited the company and Tom Mockridge, coincidentally the former CEO of News Corp’s News International, came aboard to replace him. Regarding the job cuts, Mockridge said today, “Like organizations across the public and private sector, Virgin Media is making sure it has the structure it needs to meet the needs of its customers. These proposals are designed to take advantage of the opportunities that come with being part of the world’s largest cable operator and create an organization that’s fit for growth.”

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BT & Virgin In Sports Channels Deal Just Ahead Of Premier League Soccer Kick Off

By | Thursday August 15, 2013 @ 9:52am PDT

Britain’s BT has pacted with Liberty Global-owned Virgin Media to offer its nascent BT Sport package on Virgin’s UK pay-TV service. The move comes just in time for the British Premier League soccer season which kicks off this weekend. The wholesale deal more than triples the number of BT Sport viewers, bringing the total to about 3M for the three channels (Virgin’s XL subscribers will get the channels for free and lower tier subscribers will be able to purchase them for £15.) Both BT and Virgin compete with Sky, the UK’s dominant pay player. However, Virgin also offers Sky’s channels meaning that following today’s BT pact, it becomes “the only place sports fans can enjoy every goal, try, penalty and heart-stopping sporting moment,” Virgin said in a statement. Sky, meanwhile, is giving Britain a “free day of football” on Saturday when it makes Sky Sports available to every UK household. As a rule, BT offers BT Sport 1, 2 and ESPN HD for free to its broadband customers.

BT has steadily increased its position in the sports rights arena, outbidding ESPN for 38 live Premier League matches for each of the next three seasons in a £738M deal in 2012. (It has since acquired ESPN’s UK & Ireland TV businesses.) At the same time, Sky is paying £2.3B over three years for 116 live matches. Other players have tried and failed to take on Sky in the sports game, but some media watchers say BT isn’t necessarily eyeing a challenge to its supremacy in that domain. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Vision, Archeos, XII Tribes Partner; Liberty Global Closer To $23.3B Virgin Media Acquisition

By | Monday June 3, 2013 @ 11:46pm PDT

Vision Film, Archeos Ent. Team On XII Tribes Pics

Indie distributor Vision Films and Archeos Entertainment are teaming on a slate of movies to be produced in Canada by XII Tribes Entertainment. The Cannes-sealed deal uses Montreal-based Archeos’ financial backing for pics budgeted at $3M-$15M to be made in Alberta and distributed worldwide.

Liberty Global Investors Approve Virgin Media Buyout

Liberty Global shareholders Monday OKd the $23.3B purchase of Virgin Media, and now it’s up to the UK cableco’s investors. They will vote on the deal Tuesday, and it is expected to close by week’s end. Liberty Global it expects broadband and Virgin Media’s mobile offerings to be key amid the rapid growth of online and mobile video usage.

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