Fries: Brexit Won’t Impact Liberty Global-Vodafone J.V.

Vote 'has not reduced our appetite or interest in Europe,' exec tells Reuters

Liberty Global president CEO Mike Fries downplayed last week’s decision by the U.K. to exit the European Union, telling Reuters that the so-called “Brexit” vote won’t impair its proposed joint venture with Vodafone or reduce its business appetite in the European region.

Fries, speaking to Reuters during this week’s Cable Congress event in Warsaw, Poland, noted that the Vodafone deal is “being reviewed by EU regulators and their review should not be impacted by Brexit."

In February, Liberty Global and Vodafone agreed to merge their operations in the Netherlands in a 50/50 J.V. that will combine Vodafone’s wireless communications assets in the country with Liberty Global’s video, broadband and business services.

Brexit, he added, “has no immediate impact on our business and it has not reduced our appetite or interest in Europe. The UK is a relatively large part of our business and in the end British consumers will still want the same products and services."

Pivotal Research Group announced last week it was reducing its year-end 2016 target price on Liberty Global from $50 to $41 in part to account for concerns surrounding the UK vote to exit the EU.  Liberty Global owns and operates cable systems in Europe, including Virgin Media, the UK’s largest MSO.

Fries declined to shed much more light on earlier reports that Liberty Global was looking to expand its UPC operations in Poland by acquiring Multimedia.

"We are committed to mobility and it will grow as part of our business. We're going to try to grow in mobile in Poland, too," Fries told Reuters, estimating that Liberty Global has about 20% of the cable market there. “It's a fragmented market and acquisitions are an option here."