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Liberty Taps Mockridge to Lead Top U.K. Cabler Virgin

Former News Corp. topper joins Liberty-linked company

LONDON — Former News Corp. exec Tom Mockridge is set to become CEO of the U.K.’s top cabler Virgin Media if its acquisition by Liberty Global goes ahead.

Mockridge was chief exec of News Corp.’s U.K. publishing arm News Intl. from July 2011 to December 2012. Prior to that he was CEO  of European television at News Corp. from 2008, responsible for its TV ops outside of the U.K. He was  also chief exec of News Corp.’s Italian pay TV company Sky Italia from 2003 to 2011.

Liberty Global’s purchase of Virgin is subject to the approval of both sets of stockholders, who vote in early June.

Mockridge will report to Mike Fries, prexy and CEO of Liberty Global.

Virgin had 4.9 million cable customers and cable revenue totaling £726 million ($1.12 billion) in the first quarter of this year. This was 7% up year-on-year, driven primarily by 5.2% cable ARPU growth.

Virgin also has a cell-phone arm, with 3 million customers, as well as other non-cable businesses.

Total quarterly revenue for the company was up 3.6% to $1.62 billion. Net income was $215 million.

Liberty Global, whose revenues totaled $10.3 billion last year, owns cablers in 13 countries with a total 20 million subscribers. Its companies include Germany’s Unitymedia and Kabel BW, Belgium’s Telenet and VTR, and UPC, which operates in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland. It also runs companies in Chile and Puerto Rico.

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