Vodafone Ponders Asset Swaps With Virgin Media's US Owner

By Gary Cutlack on at

Vodafone has come out with a public confirmation that it is "in the early stages of discussions" with US cable network Liberty Global about some sort of deal. Previous rumours suggested Vodafone might buy the entire company in a debt-laden mega deal, but some sort of tamer swap of key assets appears to be more likely now.

Vodafone's statement explains: "There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor is there certainty with respect to which assets will ultimately be involved. Vodafone is not in discussions with Liberty Global concerning a combination of the two companies."

Liberty Global bought Virgin Media back in 2013. John Malone, its owner, is keen on bargaining chunks of one company for bits of another, with current speculation being that he'd like to see Vodafone split its Western European operations from its African and Asian businesses, then forming a joint venture with Liberty in the profitable EU land.

Despite Vodafone confirming talks today, businesspeople on the news say it's a complex deal that could flounder on any number of financial or regulatory issues, plus the thornier potential problem of who would take credit as being the big boss of this new company. [Vodafone via Engadget]