EU regulators pause Liberty Global, Ziggo deal review

BRUSSELS Mon Aug 4, 2014 6:28am EDT

BRUSSELS Aug 4 (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators have halted their review of Liberty Global's bid for Dutch peer Ziggo while waiting for the U.S. cable company to provide more details of the deal.

The European Commission said the clock would start running again once it has the information. It had been scheduled to decide on the deal by Oct. 17.

"During its investigation of this merger, new facts have come to the Commission's attention, which are important for our full assessment of the merger," Commission spokeswoman Emer Traynor said in a statement.

"The Commission has requested further information from Liberty Global, but Liberty Global has to date not submitted this information," she said.

Liberty Global said it was holding constructive talks with the Commission.

"We remain confident that we will complete the transaction in the second half of this year," spokesman Bert Holtkamp said. The deal values Ziggo and its debt at around 10 billion euros ($13.4 billion).

Liberty Global, controlled by billionaire John Malone, has offered to divest its pay TV channel Film1 in an attempt to secure EU clearance for the deal, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last month.

The source said Liberty Global also promised not to block so-called over-the-top TV service providers such as Netflix Inc from accessing its Internet network for four years.

The EU competition authority is concerned the deal may reduce competition in the Netherlands and result in higher consumer prices.

($1 = 0.7450 Euros) (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Holmes)

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