Liberty Global plc – Class A Ordinary Shares (LBTYA) 6.4% Stake Buy In ITV Plc Indicates Future Takeover Plans

Liberty Global plc – Class A Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYA) new 6.4% stake in ITV Plc gave way to speculations that the company might completely acquire ITV. With the new buzz in, CNBC took views from Liberum Capital media analyst, Ian Whittaker, over the latest development and the broader consolidation in the media industry.

Liberty Global Inc

Whittaker believes that the stake buy by Liberty Global plc – Class A Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYA) could point out to an eventual acquisition at some point of time, but he does not see it happening anytime soon. More than that, he believes that the stake buyout is a way to send out signal to potential parties, which wish to buy ITV that they have a strong contender with the new Liberty Global plc – Class A Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYA)’s stake.

The stake buy adds to its another buyout in the U.K., Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ:VMED), which was acquired earlier last year. Thus, the deal points out that the European region is an important area for Liberty Global plc – Class A Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYA).

“You look at the deals they have done over the past eighteen months to two years. They have bought cable assets in several European countries. In the U.K. they have Virgin Media, which is essentially the only cable operator in this market,” Whittaker said.

But according to him, one of the interesting difference is that Liberty Global plc – Class A Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYA) previous deals were based on infrastructure, but its stake in ITV is more about content.

According to Whittaker “there is a wide degree of consolidation both on the infrastructure side and on the content side as well” in the media space. Also, Whittaker said that the U.S. media groups are now increasingly targeting U.K. media companies, citing two big deals from the past four months,  Channel 5 by Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) and Discovery Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:DISCA) by Liberty Global plc – Class A Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYA).


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