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After Liberty Media buy, will Malone and Murdoch 'duke it out' for top spot?

Liberty Global's agreement to acquire Virgin Media of the U.K. for an $23.3 billion pits billionaire John Malone against Rupert Murdoch, says Forbes magazine today.

John Malone: Biggest US landowner

Liberty's entry into Europe’s largest pay-TV market directly challenges Murdoch’s BSkyB, says the report.

Malone’s Liberty Global will be paying 8.8 times Virgin’s 2012 operating cash flow and 7 times its expected 2013 cash flow, according to the press release.

Malone ranks 57th in Forbes 400 with a net worth of $5.9 billion. He owned 16% of Murdoch’s News Corp in 2008- then traded that stake for 41% of DirectTV, $625 million in cash, and three regional sports networks, says Bloomberg.

Turning 72 next month, he is the largest individual private landowner in the United States, owning 2,100,000 acres , most of it in Maine.

"Buying Virgin Media will give Liberty Global a strong foothold in the U.K., Europe’s largest pay-TV market, putting it directly in front of Murdoch’s BSkyB," says Forbes.

"Liberty will also have a major presence in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands."

The acquisition of Virgin Media will will "set up a nice battleground across Europe’s major markets, as Malone and Murdoch (82 next month) duke it out for the top spot," says Forbes

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Noel Young

Former editor of Sunday Mail in Glasgow and Group Managing editor of Daily Record and Sunday Mail. Now Boston-based US correspondent for UK newspapers including Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Post. Material also syndicated by Edit International in Florida. US editor for The Drum.

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