John Malone’s Liberty Targets Dutch Cabler

Move is latest attempt by Liberty to consolidate fragmented European market

LONDON — John Malone’s Liberty Global is in takeover talks with Dutch cabler Ziggo in a deal thought to be worth up to Euros 5.3 billion ($7.3 billion).

“There is no certainty that any agreement can be reached or that any offer will ultimately be made,” Ziggo said in a statement.

Liberty, which already owns a 28.5% stake in Ziggo, made a bid for the remaining stock in October, which was spurned as it was deemed too low.

Ziggo is the market leader in the Netherlands with 2.8 million TV subscribers. Liberty already owns Ziggo’s nearest rival in the territory, UPC, which has 1.7 million TV subscribers.

It’s the latest move by Liberty to consolidate the fragmented European market as pay TV services continue to ride out the recession.

Last year, Liberty bought U.K. cable group Virgin Media for $23.3 billion. It also owns Germany’s second-largest cable operator Unitymedia.

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