EU regulators extend Liberty Global, Ziggo deadline to Oct 17

BRUSSELS Fri May 16, 2014 6:20am EDT

BRUSSELS May 16 (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators will decide by Oct. 17 whether to clear Liberty Global's bid for Dutch peer Ziggo after the U.S. cable company asked for the deadline to be extended to allow for a more thorough review.

The European Commission last week set a Sept. 19 deadline when it opened an in-depth investigation into the deal on concerns the merged company would reduce competition in the Dutch pay TV and telecoms markets.

Liberty Global said the extended deadline would be helpful for its case.

"We think that it will be valuable for the better management of this case to have more time to explore with the Commission the issues that have been identified for further investigation," spokesman Marcus Smith said.

Commission spokesman Antoine Colombani also confirmed the new EU deadline.

Liberty Global, controlled by billionaire John Malone, wants to expand its cable empire in Europe where it generates 90 percent of its revenues.

Its bid, which values Ziggo and its debt at around 10 billion euros ($13.72 billion), would bring together the Netherlands' only two suppliers of premium pay TV movie channels.

($1 = 0.7291 Euros) (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)