Liberty Global says will not raise Telenet offer
BARCELONA (Reuters) - U.S. cable group Liberty Global (LBTYA.O) is not prepared to raise its price for Belgian group Telenet (TNET.BR) because it believes it has already made a full offer, Finance Director Charles Bracken said.
Liberty Global, which has 19.6 million customers in 13 countries, has offered 35 euros per share to buy the almost 50 percent of Telenet it does not already own. But advisers to the Belgian cable operator have said the offer is too low.
The U.S.-based company made its offer in September, which was worth about $2.6 billion at that time.
"We think it's a very full and fair offer, it's a company that we control already so there is no take up premium," Bracken told a conference in Barcelona organized by Morgan Stanley.
"So we're not prepared to raise our price and I think, if there's any expectation of that, then we should put it to bed because it's not going to happen."
Lazard, appointed by Telenet's independent directors to evaluate the bid in accordance with Belgian law, said in October that Telenet was worth between 37 and 42 euros.
In order to gain support for the deal, Liberty has said the offer will no longer be conditional on attaining 95 percent of the group.
"We are interested in having as much of this company as we can have so we've dropped our condition of 95 percent. So if we end up with 51, 60, 70, 80 or 90, that's fine with us. And we'd welcome anyone who would want to stay on board."
Telenet has been steadily growing its business by upgrading its clients to higher-priced digital television services and selling packages containing broadband and, most recently, mobile phone services.
Liberty has been the controlling shareholder since 2007.
(Reporting by Kate Holton. Editing by Jane Merriman)