UK giant Vodafone have taken a huge step into the European market after snapping up Liberty Global’s cable networks.
The deal, reported to be at £18.4 billion, sees the UK-based telecoms company take control of cable operators in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.
Vodafone said the “transformative” purchase, which adds to existing operations in Germany and Spain, would make it the leading “next generation network” in Europe with 54 million cable and fibre homes on its network.
Including partnerships and wholesale arrangements, the deal will give Vodafone a reach of 110 million homes and businesses, it said.
The widely-anticipated deal shifts the balance of mobile operator Vodafone’s revenues and earnings further towards fixed line and TV services and also means that Europe will in future represent more than three quarters of earnings.
Vodafone said the purchase in Germany of the Unitymedia business would create a national challenger to the dominant fixed line operator Deutsche Telekom, making it large enough to help the German government achieve its ambitions to extend high-speed broadband connections to millions more households.
Chief executive Vittorio Colao said: “This transaction will create the first truly converged pan-European champion of competition.”