US cable group Liberty Global has agreed to acquire Dutch cable firm Ziggo for €10bn, expanding media tycoon billionaire John Malone's European cable realm.
Malone's international cable firm already owns 28.5% shares of Ziggo and had been in acquisition talks with the company since August last year.
Liberty Global chief executive officer Mike Fries said this transaction creates a nationwide cable champion that will drive investment and innovation for the benefit of Dutch consumers and businesses alike.
"Our combined operations will reach over 90% of all Dutch households allowing us to compete more effectively with the other national telecommunications and satellite platforms in the Netherlands, and at the same time generate significant revenue and operating efficiencies.
"We are targeting €160 million in annual run-rate synergies by 2018, which will underpin our growth profile over the next few years in the Netherlands and for Liberty Global overall, as we continue to build scale in Western Europe."
As part of the transaction, Ziggo would be incorporated with Liberty Global's wholly owned Dutch cable operator, UPC, paving the creation of a stronger domestic opponent for Dutch telecommunications firm Royal KPN.
Ziggo supervisory board chairman Andrew Sukawaty said the transaction would create a Dutch industry leader together with UPC Netherlands.
"Our customers will benefit as the new combination has an agenda of investing in growth and innovative solutions, helping customers to enjoy media and entertainment even more while at the same time ensuring a high level of data-security and privacy," Sukawaty said.
"The new Ziggo combines two regional networks.
"By joining forces they will stimulate and maintain the leading position of the Netherlands in the digital economy.
"For our employees the new combination will allow them to become part of a larger and stronger company, offering new perspectives and career opportunities."
Europe contributes to about 90% of revenues of Liberty Global over its acquisitions from Ireland to Romania made during the past decade.