back to article Sources: Liberty Global, Vodafone take seats at negotiating table AGAIN

A corporate tie up between Vodafone UK and Liberty Global is back on the negotiating table, multiple sources have told The Register. The fourth floor of Voda’s Newbury HQ has been sealed off with access only granted to execs from both firms, insiders claimed. Andrea Salvato, SVP and chief development officer at Liberty Global …

  1. Ledswinger Silver badge


    Don't make me laugh. A natural tie up between two companies whose business model is high prices and poor service, albeit with an underlying network assets that are (by sector standards) pretty good largely for historic reasons than thanks to current management.

    Sadly there's another common trend that looks set to play out again, and that is corporate shenanigans that invariably add billions of "goodwill" to the balance sheet, and result in ever increasing prices for customers.

    Meanwhile OFCOM will be nowhere to be seen when the prices get hiked.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Emotive?

      Yep, pity Liberty Global though when they realise what they have bought into...

      LG: "Hello? Vodafone customer services? We would like to cancel our contract."

      Vodafone CS: "Fuck off" Click.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Emotive?

      That convinces me to finally get into gear and move from Demon (Vodafone) to AAISP.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Emotive?

      Despite the name in the UK, (Virgin, and bizarre re-name to Virgin in Ireland) Liberty Global's UK and Irish Cable operations have more now in common with UPC (their Dutch cable Co), though Liberty is a USA outfit.

      After massive upgrade after purchase of Chorus (total junk) and NTL (not so bad) in Ireland, Liberty rebranded it all with UPC and the Tulip logo. Then after buying the UK Virgin Cable (and RENTING the Virgin name) they rebranded UPC in Ireland as Virgin (bizarre!) with Richard Branson appearing at a launch and many silly Irish media thought Virgin had bought UPC, when in fact the reverse was true.

      Three here is rubbish because they sell data too cheap and don't build enough masts. Unlike UK, Three was allowed to take over O2 Ireland (Spanish Telefonica owned), despite all is outsourced and Three was not meeting licence conditions for years.

      The Vodafone in Ireland isn't the cheapest, but where there is coverage, it works. Here in Ireland Vodafone partners with ESB for Fibre and took over all BT's retail (from BT's take over of ESAT).

      All this telecoms stuff is complicated.

  2. Carl Thomas


    Rumours of an asset swap have been rumbling on since before talk of a merger. LGI have been wanting to get their hands on a UK MNO for nearly as long as they've wanted ntl:telewest.

    Unsure what impact this might have in the enterprise market but as far as consumer goes I don't see there being a problem.

  3. Steve K Silver badge

    They renewed their MVNO deal with EE for 5 years at the start of 2017, but I wonder if the BT/EE deal has got them wanting to move away from a direct competitor (for Virgin Mobile AND fixed-line phone/cable/content) by having their own mobile operation/deal.

    1. ARGO

      That merger went through before the renewal though, so getting away from BTEE doesn't seem ot be that important a driver.

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    It goes round and round

    Back in 2000 when Vodafone bought Mannesmann their argument was a mobile only strategy had more value, while Mannesmann was one of the first to argue for the combined service option. Many years and significant write-downs by shareholders (and taxpayers) later they seem to be coming round. Mind you, back then Calao was head of Mannesmann's Italian subsidiary, Omnitel.

    Also worth noting that once the UK leaves the EU, there is probably not much to be gained by trying to be a pan-European telco so we might see more of this kind of deal with the European business being managed from the continent. But, hey, UK customers will no longer be disadvantaged by not having to pay ridiculous roaming charges when travelling: what's not to like?

  5. Vimes

    Vodafone already seem to be playing silly buggers with some of their customers. I dread to think what will happen if Liberty Global and Vodafone end up merging...

    1. Carl Thomas

      That looks like nothing more than the IWF watch list being dubiously implemented. Content on Imgur fell foul of it so all requests to some IP addresses get routed to a proxy that filters out the nastiness but, of course, can't do anything with HTTPS.

      1. Vimes

        If that's all it was why haven't Vodafone done anything about fixing it?

        1. Vimes

          They are interfering with the operation of a PC. I wonder what the Computer Misuse Act has to say about that?

          They are intercepting traffic in a way that appears to go beyond what the law demands of them and clearly without consent. What would s.1(1) of RIPA have to say about that?

          They are processing data in a way that appears to be excessive amongst other things, so it would be interesting to hear what the ICO has to say on the matter with regards to the Data Protection Act.

          Sometimes intent is irrelevant and doesn't make it any less potentially illegal. I wonder if this is one of those times?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank goodness I am not a customer of either company ...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hello Newbury...

    It has been nice knowing you.

    If this goes through everything will be sent to India. The share premium alone will scupper any profits for 2-3 years so they'll have to cut costs to the bone.

    I sort of pity anyone who works in Newbury. My advice would be to hold off on buying that new house, car or anything.

    Oh, and F1 will move from C4 to mobile devices only. Virgin and Voda networks only (provided that they can blindside the regulators)

    1. Julian Garrett

      Re: Hello Newbury...

      Err no it wont - Vodafone just announced they are re-onshoring 2000 customer service jobs.

      Thing is that Vodafone's network has improved dramatically in the past couple of years - if their customer service had improved with it Vodafone would be a bit better off by now - but they're starting to get on top of that now too.

      Disclosure - Yes, I work for Vodafone.

  8. LDShadowLord

    Dumb Question

    You say that Liberty doesn't own a mobile business in the UK, but Liberty own Virgin Media, who in turn own Virgin Mobile? Do you mean that Liberty don't own their own mobile infrastructure in the UK? As Virgin Media runs on EE's network.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Dumb Question

      "Virgin Media runs on EE's network"



      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Dumb Question

        So presumably if this goes through Virgin Mobile subscribers will be switched to Vodafone? That could be "interesting". Perhaps there will be a sharp rise in demand for dual-SIM phones out here in the sticks.

        1. LDShadowLord

          Re: Dumb Question

          I hope not. I use Virgin Mobile, actually quite happy with them. Never had a good experience with Vodafone though, would not be enamoured to be switched over to them.

          Unless that is, Vodafone is rebranded to Virgin mobile in its entirety.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dumb Question

      Correct, but some finer details on that.

      Presently Virgin Mobile use EE for billing and mast coverage. EE in turn use Virgin Media's infra for their data network. It's a scratch my back and I'll scratch yours kind of agreement.

      so, VM didn't have any sort of mobile stack of their own up until about 18 months ago when they went live with a new stack provided by Huawei. That stack cost em a hundred million quid!

      The idea of the new stack was that VM can handle the billing on their own and choose whoever they like for mast supply.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dumb Question

      "Do you mean that Liberty don't own their own mobile infrastructure in the UK?"

      Presumably, with all this talk of what they do and don't own, now would be a great time for Liberty Global to buy Arqiva, recently reported as on sale, who own all the masts and national broadcast infrastructure as well.

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. DarkLordofSurrey

      Re: Pair a wenkers

      New book title? :D

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Corporate greed at play again ?

    As bad as Voda is, why dont they target O2 ? They (telefonica) are desperate to sell themselves to a buyer and Three's takeover of them was blocked by our toothless Ofcom.

    Unlocking value = redundancies and poorer service . They have to justify ROI too.

    Yawn. Wake me up when the next price rise kicks in. Like they did when they took over VirminMedia. At least 5 price rises since then ! Call it progress or competition ?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Multi Play Goliaths bad for competition?

    If the Voda + Liberty Global deal is allowed then there is very little way the O2 + Three deal can be blocked as no way that the two will survive against the multi play offering Goliaths (BT and Virgin). and with the possible Murdoch Sky take over. Sky may want their own network rather than being a VMNO on Telefonica (O2) and the only Network options not owned by a competitor would be O2 or Three,

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

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