US cable operator Liberty Global to buy rest of Belgium's Telenet for $2.56 bn

US cable operator Liberty Global yesterday said it will buy the remaining shares it does not already own in Belgian peer Telenet Group Holding NV for €1.96 billion ($2.56 billion).

Liberty, which already holds a controlling 50.4 per cent stake in Telenet, is offering to pay €35 per share, representing a 14 per cent premium over the average closing price of Telenet over the past month. Telenet's shares closed at €31.10 on Wednesday.

Liberty Global, whose brands include UPC, Unitymedia, Kabel BW, VTR and Chellomedia, said its offer is conditional to it receiving at least 95 per cent of the outstanding Telenet shares and voting rights.

''As a long-term, industrial player in European cable, this shows our commitment to the Belgian market. Telenet is one of our most successful operations and a core part of our growing pan-European platform. We remain very supportive of the existing management team and employees at Telenet, all of whom have contributed to the company's success,'' Liberty said in a statement.

Telenet said its board would review the offer and would, as per law, appoint independent experts to analyse Liberty's bid.

Telenet is Belgium's largest provider of broadband cable services. Its business comprises analog and digital cable television, high speed internet and fixed line phones and mobile services, primarily to residential customers in Flanders and Brussels. It has 2.15 million cable-TV users.