January 6, 2014 / 12:40 PM / in 5 years

Liberty in final talks to buy Dutch cable group Ziggo - Bloomberg

BRUSSELS, Jan 6 (Reuters) - U.S.-listed cable telecoms group Liberty Global is finalising talks with Dutch operator Ziggo about a takeover offer, according to a media report.

Liberty, which is Europe’s largest cable operator and already owns 28.5 percent of Ziggo, has been driving consolidation of the fragmented European cable market.

The two companies could announce a deal as early as mid-January, although details such as who will head Ziggo are still to be discussed, Bloomberg said, citing sources.

If the firms strike a deal, the future of former Deutsche Telekom Chief Executive Rene Obermann - who started his stint as CEO of Ziggo last week - is uncertain, Bloomberg said.

Liberty Global and Ziggo declined to comment on the report.

Ziggo’s shares rose as much as 2.7 percent on Monday, following the report, having made a slow start to the new year in the first few sessions of 2014.

Ziggo said in December no decision had yet been made about a full takeover offer. It rejected an approach from Liberty - controlled by U.S. tycoon John Malone - in October as too low.

Analysts have said Ziggo could be worth as much as 37 euros per share, based on 32 euros for the company and 5 euros which Liberty could gain in cost savings, as the U.S.-listed group already owns Dutch peer UPC. Shares were trading at 33.45 euros at 1200 GMT.

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