Liberty Global to Acquire Virgin Media
The cash component of the equity purchase price, totaling approximately $5.9 billion,5 will be funded largely through a combination of debt financing and available liquidity of both Liberty Global and Virgin Media. We intend to increase Virgin Media's debt by more than $3.0 billion, such that on a pro forma basis, Virgin Media's debt will fall well within our normal Leverage target of four to five times annualized OCF.6 Together with the net proceeds of Virgin Media's debt financing, the transaction will be funded with cash and other sources of liquidity of Virgin Media and cash and borrowing availability under Liberty Global's existing credit facilities. Adjusting for the transaction and completion of the intended financings, we estimate the Leverage on the combined company would have been approximately 5 times at December 31, 2012, which would serve as a modest deleveraging event for current Liberty Global shareholders. We are targeting mid-4's Leverage by year-end 2014.
As part of its acquisition of Virgin Media, Liberty Global will redomicile from Delaware to the United Kingdom by becoming a subsidiary of a new holding company, a UK plc. Liberty Global's current headquarters and other principal offices will remain in place. Liberty Global will be listed on NASDAQ and will continue to report earnings and other financial statements in accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, including dollar denominated financial statements. Liberty Global's Board of Directors will continue to form the board of Liberty Global, with the addition of one Virgin Media director to be named prior to the closing. Liberty Global believes that the creation of a UK plc as a new holding company will have several business and financial benefits, including increased strategic and financial flexibility, as it pertains to value creation for its shareholders. After closing of the transaction, Liberty Global may look to implement a European listing. Virgin Media will continue to operate under the Virgin Media brand in the UK.
Based upon facts and circumstances as of the date of announcement, Liberty Global believes that the share Exchange as structured may not be taxable to U.S. shareholders of Liberty Global. However, the ultimate tax treatment of the share Exchange is not certain and is dependent upon the facts and circumstances at the closing date, which are difficult to predict and are outside of Liberty Global's control. The transaction is not conditioned upon a determination as to the tax treatment for Liberty Global stockholders. Further details will be provided in the proxy statement which will be designed to enable Liberty Global shareholders to evaluate the tax treatment with their own tax advisors.
The transaction is subject to majority approval from both companies' shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The respective shareholder meetings, as well as the closing of the transaction, are expected to occur in the second quarter of 2013. Through certain trust arrangements, Mr. John Malone controls in excess of 35% of the voting power of Liberty Global, and he has committed to support the transaction in his capacity as a shareholder.
In connection with the transaction, LionTree Advisors acted as lead financial advisor to Liberty Global. Credit Suisse also acted as financial advisor and sole global coordinator and consent solicitation agent for the debt financing. Shearman & Sterling and Ropes & Gray served as legal counsel to Liberty Global. On behalf of Virgin Media, Goldman Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisors and Fried Frank and Milbank served as legal counsel. Goldman Sachs International acted as corporate broker to Virgin Media.
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