Liberty Global Buys Minority Stake in Dutch Cable Operator for $807M

By Jennifer Booton Features FOXBusiness

Liberty Global (LBTYA) inked a deal on Thursday to buy a 12.65% stake in Ziggo, the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, for $807 million.

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Ziggo shares soared 12% on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange after Liberty confirmed that it scooped up 25.3 million shares from Barclays Capital Securities (BCS) for 25 euros each, or about 632.5 million euros in total.

Barclays acquired the stake a week ago for about 25.05 euros a share from Warburg Pincus and Cinven, which maintains a minority stake in Ziggo.

Liberty Global called the investment an “attractive opportunity” in a region where it already has a sizable presence through its UPC Netherlands subsidiary. The price assumes Ziggo, with a dividend yield of 7.4%, will pay 370 million euros in dividends in 2013.

Ziggo, which was listed in March of last year, saw its earnings climb 4% year-over-year in 2012 to $1.54 billion euros.

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Englewood, Colo.-based Liberty has been rapidly expanding its global presence through acquisitions and major investments. Last month, it bought U.K. cable-television and Internet provider Virgin Media for $16 billion.

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The Ziggo deal, which doesn’t require regulatory approvals because Liberty is not seeking a controlling interest, will be funded with a non-recourse margin loan and existing liquidity.