UGC, LMI in Two Deals


UnitedGlobalCom Inc. said it has purchased interests in two European cable companies -- Telenet Group Holding NV and Chorus Communications Ltd. -- from Liberty Media International Inc. in two separate transactions valued at about $198 million.

UGC -- the largest cable operator in Europe, with about 9.1 million video subscribers in 14 countries -- acquired a 14.1% interest in Telenet by first acquiring several debt instruments of Cable Partners Europe LLC from LMI.

Cable Partners and a UGC subsidiary, UGC Newcos, then commenced a restructuring that gave UGC Newcos a 78.4% common equity interest and a 100% preferred equity interest in Belgian Cable Investors, which owns 14.1% of Telenet.

UGC said in a prepared statement that the deal was worth about $143 million, of which $121 million was paid to LMI.

In a separate deal, UGC acquired LMI’s 100% interest in Ireland’s Chorus for about 6.4 million shares of UGC stock valued at about $55 million.

The two deals further cement UGC’s dominance of the European cable market. Chorus is the second-largest MSO in Ireland, with about 200,000 revenue-generating units. Telenet is the largest MSO in Belgium, with 2.5 million RGUs.

“This transaction reinforces UGC’s position as our primary European broadband vehicle,” LMI CEO John Malone said in a prepared statement. “The Telenet and Chorus management teams have done an outstanding job growing their respective businesses and delivering superior broadband services to their customers. These teams now have the opportunity to benefit from UGC’s significant scale, operating efficiency and expertise.”