back to article Brussels clears Liberty Global's £15bn Virgin Media takeover

US billionaire John Malone's company Liberty Global saw its £15bn bid to buy UK telco Virgin Media cleared by competition officials in Europe today. The takeover was waved through completely unchallenged by the European Commission, after the cable giant confirmed it wanted to acquire Virgin Media in February. The antitrust wing …

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Facepalm

"TV content is licensed mainly on a national basis or for linguistically homogeneous areas"

Because no company's ever bought in cheap American shite wholesale and then dubbed or subtitled it in non-English speaking countries...

It can only lead to higher quality telly.

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IT Angle

NIB's are filler. Analysis is killer.

Is 'waved through completely unchallenged' just an opinion or is it relevant?

If it ought to have been challenged, why should it have been and by whom?

If it was not challenged, why was it not challenged?

What does this mean for the end user?

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Joke

What does it mean for the end user ?

Better service.

Lower prices.

More choice.

Exciting innovations.

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Coat

Re: NIB's are filler. Analysis is killer.

It was challenged by the EU, as they are supposed to look into takeovers, but it did not break any competition rules. The sentence "The takeover was waved through completely unchallenged by the European Commission" is by the author of this article and a bit funny.

What does this mean for the end user is up to the end user to decide.

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FAIL

Hopeless Dopes

Virgin-on-the-ridiculous are utterly hopeless at anything they try to do:

"Fibre broadband"? No - the same old ratty coax cable that was installed as cheaply as possible in the 1960s.

"Unlimited Internet"? No - traffic shaped, DNS-restricted, download limited, and never as fast as they claim.

"High reliability"? No - average time to restore lost service measured in weeks, not minutes.

"Low Cost" No - slightly cheaper in some ways than Sky, but you get less than half the service.

Making the company bigger will just make their service poorer.

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Re: What does it mean for the end user ?

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Re: Hopeless Dopes

"Fibre broadband"? No - the same old ratty coax cable that was installed as cheaply as possible in the 1960s.

"Unlimited Internet"? No - traffic shaped, DNS-restricted, download limited, and never as fast as they claim.

"High reliability"? No - average time to restore lost service measured in weeks, not minutes.

"Low Cost" No - slightly cheaper in some ways than Sky, but you get less than half the service.

Yup, and while BT are better at some of that list, they're as bad or worse in others. Isn't UK broadband awesome? Virgin brought in many of the traffic rules after their buyout - perhaps after another buyout that will be re-evaluated.

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Re: NIB's are filler. Analysis is killer.

As far as I can gather, Virgin Media operates only in the UK and Liberty operates in lots of EU countries, but not the UK. Therefore there is nobody who currently has a choice between Virgin and Liberty, and therefore no competition concerns.

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WTF?

Re: Hopeless Dopes

I'm currently maxing out my 60Mb/s VM BB connection quite nicely thank you.

BTW, NTL:Telewest are the people selling their VirginMedia branded company to Liberty Bell. VirginMedia did not buy out NTL, Telewest, Blueyonder, Virgin Mobile or anyone else. NTL:Telewest paid Virgin Holdings £10m +shares for the to use the Virgin branding for 10 years.

AIUI, when Telewest "bought" NTL and created NTL:Telewest, the TV side top people were mainly ex-NTL people while the BB side ended up being bossed by mainly ex-Telewest/Blueyonder people. At the time, many people seemed to agree that was the best people from each side running the business.

Also, IIRC, only Redifusion had co-ax cables for TV/radio in the 60's. I'm willing to be corrected but I thought that system died and went dormant before the current cable network was layed by the original franchise holders.

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Thumb Down

Re: What does it mean for the end user ?

Im sceptical of this. We could just as easily see lower quality of service, higher prices, less choice and no innovation.

A new company is going to be calling the shots, we don't know what their plans are, they could plan to run VM into the ground then sell off assets. They may decided to change the tv lineup to syndicate some of the american trash tv channels. We may see even more restrictive traffic management. Who knows what resources they will bring or redistribute.

Don't get me wrong there could be good things to come but there could just as easily be bad things and given past history of these types of things the cynic in me knows what to expect.

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Re: What does it mean for the end user ?

"A new company is going to be calling the shots, we don't know what their plans are"

IIRC, when the takeover was first announced, someone posted in this august forum that Libertys' MO is to push people onto the higher tiered services and to do away with the lower end, cheaper services. How that might relate to the level of service and what you'll actually get for your money is yet to be seen.

Maybe instead of having M, L, XL and XXL we'll get XL, XXL and XXXL instetad :-)

(Of yeah, they'll do away with the unadvertised S (small) package too)

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Anonymous Coward

It means bad news for the end user.

Very simple. £15 billion ( a lot of it borrowed & levergaed ) will need to be repaid with interest. Shareholders will demand returns on investment.

Where do you think this money will come from? Doesnt take a genius to work it out.

Expect worse services for more money and American trash.

Simples.

Mark my words. 2 years down the line, would be happy to say " told you so".

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Headmaster

Re: It means bad news for the end user.

Yes, the 15 billion will need to "grow". That doesn't mean paying it all back in straight cash; that would be stupid (and unworkable).

What the shareholders are after is investing money, and having that investment of X, have that be worth X+n at some time in the future, where n is positive and as large as possible. A great way of doing this is growing a company, obtaining more users for a service, finding ways of making it more efficient (newer hardware with less power consumption etc.), and generally lowering the maintenance bills that always dig into the balance sheet.

It may well be a case of nothing gets "repaid" from the investment, but the initial £15 billion investment becomes £15+n billion if the company ever gets sold on.

If the revenue stream is more than interest paid to the bank (if that's required, some companies have war chests well in excess of this, so interest payments are not a factor, making acquisitions with a long term revenue stream very attractive).

What we get to see is how the execs of the company change that £15 billion into £15+n billion. That's what decides the service.

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Paris Hilton

Limeys vs Septic Tanks

What makes American trash worse than British rubbish?

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