Liberty turns its attention to ONO

January 29, 2014 10.02 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

Ono New HQSpain’s leading cable operator ONO has emerged as a €7 billion take-over target for Liberty Global, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Quoting sources close to the matter, it says that talks are taking place with ONO’s private equity owners, who are also speaking with Vodafone, while at the same time preparing for an IPO later this year.

However, it adds that the talks have not yet reached a point where offers have been presented to or discussed by ONO’s board of directors.

Liberty Global has significantly added to its cable assets in Western Europe in the last 3-4 years, initially by entering Germany and subsequently the UK, where it acquired Virgin Media.

Most recently, it reached an agreement earlier this week to buy Ziggo in the Netherlands for €10 billion.

Vodafone’s interest in ONO meanwhile came to light in reports in the Spanish press late last week, with Expansion saying that talks between the two parties had intensified due to several factors.

These include the availability of funds to Vodafone following the sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications and desire to acquire ONO prior to its proposed IPO.

Vodafone also does not want to be left behind by Telefónica, which recently announced that it expects to reach 7 million FTTH homes passed by the end of this year.

ONO lists Providence Equity Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners and CCMP among its backers and currently has around 1.9 million residential customers.