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.
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