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Liberty takes control of UGC

Distrib now owns 92% voting block

Liberty Media said Monday that it acquired all the outstanding shares of UnitedGlobalCom’s Class B common stock from founding shareholders, giving it control of the big international cable company in which it invested several years ago.

Liberty now owns 54% of the common stock and 92% of the voting control of UnitedGlobal, a holding company based in Denver. Liberty will have no more restrictions on exercising its voting power. Liberty also has the right to purchase an additional 15 million Class A shares.

Gene Schneider has resigned as UGC’s chief exec but will remain chairman of the board. Current chief operating officer Michael Fries was promoted to CEO and will become a member of the new executive committee of the board, which includes Fries and Liberty Media’s John Malone and Robert Bennett.

Three UGC board members, Al Carollo, Curt Rochelle and Tina Wildes, have resigned. Paul Gould, a director of Liberty Media and a managing director of Gotham investment bank Allen & Co., will fill one of the vacancies.

“The addition of United makes Liberty Media one of the largest broadband distribution companies in the world,” said Liberty CEO Bennett. He said the company’s large European presence, through subsid UGC Europe, will serve as a launching pad for new services and expansion opportunities. UGC also owns VTR GlobalCom in Chile and other broadband ventures worldwide.

As of Sept. 30, UGC’s networks reached 12 million homes.

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