Branson Ready to Deal with NTL over Virgin Mobile

13 December 2005

UK cable operator NTL's proposed takeover of Sir Richard Branson's cellphone company, Virgin Mobile, could be back on line.

The telco board rejected the US-headquartered cable company's £817 million ($1.43bn; €1.21bn) bid for the business last week, saying it was not enough. NTL refused to come back with a better offer, maintaining that it was a "fair price for all Virgin Mobile shareholders".

The stand-off now looks set to be resolved by Sir Richard himself, who is reported to be ready to accept a lower price for his 72% stake in the business. The move will give NTL more room to raise the amount VM's minority shareholders will receive.

If the deal does go ahead it will create the UK's first 'quadruple play' communications group, offering customers mobile, cable TV, landlines and internet. The merged company would also pose a threat to the dominance of News Corporation's satellite business BSkyB.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff