Shares of�$17 billion international cable operator Liberty Global (LBTYA) were halted this evening just before the company announced it will acquire $12 billion television and broadband operator Virgin Media (VMED) for $23.3 billion in cash and stock.
Liberty said the deal will create “the world’s leading broadband communications company”, with service to 47 million homes and 25 million customers in 14 countries.
Liberty will offer Virgin shareholders $17.50 a share in cash and 0.2582 of a share of Liberty’s “Series A” stock and 0.1928 of a share of Liberty C shares. That implies, Liberty said, a price of $47.87 per share of Virgin, a 24% premium, it said, to Virgin’s closing price yesterday, February 4th.
Virgin shares closed up $6.92, or 18%, at $45.61 amidst speculation about a deal.
Liberty Global shares closed down 2.3% at $67.88 and are stuck at $67.37 in late trading.