March 7, 2013 / 5:05 PM / in 5 years

EU regulators to decide on Liberty, Virgin deal by April 15

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators will decide by April 15 whether to clear a $15.8 billion takeover bid by U.S. cable group Liberty Global for British peer Virgin Media VMED.O, the EU competition authority said on Thursday.

    The deal, if approved, would pit Liberty Global (LBTYA.O) controlling shareholder and U.S. billionaire John Malone against Rupert Murdoch, owner of British satellite group BSkyB BSY.L, in the fast-developing European cable market.

    Liberty Global, Europe’s No. 1 cable operator, notified the deal to the European Commission on Wednesday, the authority said on its website.

    The Commission can either approve the takeover in the preliminary review, extend the scrutiny by 10 working days to examine concessions or open a lengthy investigation.

    Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford

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