Revenue: $1.5 billion
Loss: $4.5 billion
The future is still hazy for UnitedGlobalCom, the linchpin in media mogul John Malone’s plans to dominate the European cable TV market, as it emerges from a slow, painful process to restructure a mountain of debt and streamline its operations.
Denver-based UGC, which is 72% owned by Malone’s Liberty Media , controls United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC), the largest cable operator on the European continent. UGC also runs Austar United in Asia and VTR in Latin America, giving it an aggregate footprint of more than 11 million subscribers.
A deal struck just last month should give the company some extra breathing room to regroup, however. Malone negotiated a debt-swap arrangement with UPC’s creditors to avoid a possible collapse, at the same time consolidating his managerial control over the cable empire.
Deal would covert some $5.4 billion worth of UPC debt into new equity, and give United GlobalCom 66% ownership. UPC, which boasts roughly 7 million European subscribers, has roughly $10 billion in total debt on its books.