David Tennant will be pleased: Virgin Media just became part of one of the world's largest broadband companies, promising to soup up its service and take the fight to Sky.
US cable company Liberty Global has bought Virgin Media in a deal worth a whopping £15bn in stock and cash. Virgin, home of TiVo, will keep its name, and pledges "enhanced bundled and premium services" in the future.
If you own shares in Virgin Media you'll be paid about £11 per share, as well as shares in Liberty Global.
Despite being a US company, Liberty Global earns 90 per cent of its revenue from Europe. If the deal is approved by shareholders and regulators, Liberty will have a total of 25 million customers in 14 countries.
Liberty is owned by billionaire and occasional philanthropist John Malone, the largest private landowner in the US. The stage is set for Malone, who Al Gore nicknamed Darth Vader, to once again go head-to-head with Rupert Murdoch, owner of BSkyB.
The pair both went after US satellite TV broadcaster DirecTV Group in 2007, and will clash again in the UK over pay TV, phone lines and broadband. With 10.7 million customers, BSkyB has roughly twice the number of customers as Virgin Media, but Virgin is now in a good position to attract new subscribers by spending on new technology -- and maybe even breaking Sky's stranglehold on new TV, movies and sports.
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