Shareholders Demand Answers From Virgin Media over Q1 Figures

16 May 2007

LONDON: The UK's sole cable television provider, US-owned Virgin Media, has come under fire from major shareholders over poor first quarter results.

Virgin Group, which holds an 11% stake, and US fund manager Franklin Mutual Advisers (9.4%) are seeking talks with senior executives to discuss the company's "strategic direction, corporate governance and management".

Virgin Media is the progeny of last year's takeover by NTL-Telewest of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Mobile [WARC News: 05-Apr-06].

Last week the business reported a Q1 operating loss of £15.3 million ($30.2m; €22.3m) and a 47,000 slide in customer numbers, compared with a £9.2m profit in the fourth quarter of 2006.

The cable firm is in the throes of a legal dispute with satellite giant and arch rival BSkyB which withdrew its channels from the Virgin platform following a row over distribution fees [WARC News: 26-Feb-07].

Virgin Media is expected to answer pointed questions from Branson and others at today's (Wednesday) board meeting in New York and is likely to meet with Franklin representatives shortly. It says it "welcomes an active dialogue with all shareholders."

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff