Virgin Media brand sold in £14.8bn deal
The Virgin Media brand has been sold to US cable company Liberty Global in a deal worth $23.3bn (£14.8bn).
The brand name is to be retained and it is understood Virgin Media’s marketing team, led by the recently installed Jeff Dodds, will remain intact. Virgin Media’s chief executive Neil Berkett, however, will step down once the deal is complete.
Berkett says the merged entity, which Liberty claims will be the biggest broadband provider in the world and serve 25 million customers in 14 countries, will help grow the Virgin Media brand.
He adds: “The combined company will be able to grow faster and deliver enhanced returns by capitalising on the exciting opportunities that the digital revolution presents, both in the UK and across Europe.”
Virgin Media has spent heavily marketing its pay-TV, where it trails BSkyB in the UK, and broadband services in recent years including several high profile television campaigns starring celebrities such as Usain Bolt, Stephen Fry and David Tennant. Marketing costs increased to £225.7 in 2012.
The uplift in marketing outlay helped drive a 2.7 per cent increase in revenue to £4.01bn in the 12 months to 31 December, the company adds in a separate earnings statement today (6 February).
Pay TV customers increased by 210,000 in the year and superfast broadband customers by 1.5 million.