5/12/2016 12:49:05 PM
Virgin Media owner makes play for O2 as Three merger rejected
Virgin Media owner Liberty Global has said it will consider purchasing O2.
The news comes as European regulators formally blocked Three UK owners CK Hutchison from buying O2, with the watchdog stating the merger would be bad for UK consumers.
The decision was met with praise from UK regulators and industry figures, while Hutch has threatened legal action against the decision.
Telefonica has previously said that if the merger was rejected, it would seek new buyers for O2 or consider flotation.
Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries revealed the plan whilst speaking to investors at Liberty’s Q1 2016 earnings call. He commented: ‘We look at all options in the marketplace and it would be strange if we didn’t evaluate that option.’
Liberty Global owned Virgin Media has previously come out in support of the Three/O2 deal. The MVNO was among those vying for any spectrum a combined Three/O2 may be forced to give up.
Fries recent comments follow a year of speculation that Liberty Global was planning to merge with Vodafone. This was prompted after Liberty chairman John Malone described the two companies as a ‘great fit’ and that there would be ‘substantial synergies’ if the two were combined.