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TV Titan Looks to Germany

John Malone, CEO of Liberty Media. Source: Dominik Butzmann/Handelsblatt
Looking at the German market: John Malone, CEO of Liberty Media.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Forging a deal with Maxdome owner, broadcaster Pro Sieben Sat.1 Media, could pave the way to interesting content partnerships for Liberty Global.

  • Facts


    • Maxdome faces fierce competition from Netflix and Amazon’s Fire TV.
    • Liberty Global was previously outbid in a war for Kabel Deutschland by €2 per share.
    • The U.S. company has recently been on a spending spree, forking out more than €5.5 billion for acquisitions.
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July 2013 was not a good month for Liberty Global.

In a bidding war for Kabel Deutschland, by far Germany’s largest cable operator, the U.S. company was outbid by Britain’s Vodafone. The British telecommunications company offered €87 per share, and the U.S. firm, which belongs to the empire of media mogul John Malone, only offered €85. The cable company went to Vodafone for €10.7 billion.

Now Liberty is planning a different deal in Germany, though a much, much smaller one. According to sources in the industry, the U.S. company is talking with Pro Sieben Sat.1 Media about jumping onboard its online video platform Maxdome. Mr. Malone’s envoys reportedly have in mind a stake of about 50 percent. Representatives of Pro Sieben Sat.1 did not want to comment on the issue. A request put to Liberty Global remained unanswered as of publication time.

The Americans have been on a buying tour for some time. In May, Liberty Global and its sister company Discovery Communications took over the British TV production company All3Media, which also had German subsidiaries with Berlin’s MME Moviement and Cologne’s Tower Productions. Then the U.S. company bought 6.4 percent of media entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch’s shares in the British commercial TV network ITV for €608.4 million. And most recently he acquired the Dutch cable operator Ziggo for €4.9 billion.

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