Horizon, TiVo boost for Liberty

May 7, 2014 06.06 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

HorizonBoxLiberty Global gained over 250,000 more next generation Horizon TV and TiVo customers in the first quarter.

As a result, the customer base exceeded 2.6 million, or 20% of total digital subscribers, with over 550,000 opting for Horizon TV, in the four countries it is present in, and 2.1 million for TiVo with Virgin Media in the UK.

In its latest set of results, the company says that from a subscriber perspective its video RGU loss was, at 71,000, the lowest since 2007, with the Netherlands nearly halving its loss to 17,000 and Switzerland posting its strongest video result, at +5,000, in six years.

Consolidated revenues increased to $4.5 billion in Q1, compared to $2.7 billion a year earlier, thanks largely to the inclusion of Virgin Media and, to a lesser extent, positive European foreign currency movements versus the US dollar. Operating income increased by 10% to $582 million, compared to $528 million in 2013, while the net loss attributable to shareholders was $79 million ($1 million).

Commenting on the results, CEO Mike Fries said: “We’re off to an excellent start this year with robust subscriber and cash flow growth.

He added: “Our first quarter financial performance in OCF and Adjusted FCF was particularly strong, as we generated 8% rebased OCF growth and a 47% increase in Adjusted FCF on a combined basis. Based on this strong start to 2014, we remain confident in our ability to achieve our public guidance targets, which include an acceleration of rebased OCF growth and the delivery of $2.0 billion of Adjusted FCF for the full year.”

Fries also spoke about M&A’s, saying: we understand that the European Commission has nearly completed its phase one investigation into our proposed acquisition of Ziggo N.V. (“Ziggo”), the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, and that the case is likely to move to a second phase at the EU level. No final decision has been taken, but we continue to expect closing to occur in the second half of 2014. We plan to officially launch the tender offer in about one month’s time, and look forward to demonstrating the benefits that this strategic combination will bring to Dutch consumers and businesses.”