Investor Alert

April 20, 2015, 8:42 a.m. EDT

Liberty Global unit to buy BASE for $1.4 billion

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By Chelsey Dulaney

Liberty Global PLC said Monday that its Telenet Group Holding NV unit has agreed to buy Belgian mobile-phone operator BASE Company NV for EUR1.3 billion ($1.4 billion), in its latest consolidation move in Europe.

BASE is the third-largest mobile network operator in Belgium with 3.3 million mobile subscribers and adjusted revenue of EUR690 million last year. Its current owner is Dutch telecommunications company Royal KPN NV.

The deal is expected to make Telenet's mobile business more competitive and boost its presence in Belgium, where Liberty Global has eyed growth.

Spun off from Liberty Media Corp., media mogul John Malone's Liberty Global is the largest international cable company, with operations in 14 countries. The London company has been shifting focus to Europe, with a series of large acquisitions, including U.K.'s Virgin Media Inc. and Dutch cable operator Ziggo NV, seeking to profit from rising demand for bundles of television, broadband and telephone and mobile services.

Telenet expects to spend about EUR240 million on integrating the business and to upgrade BASE's capacity and network.

Once the deal is completed, Belgium's mobile phone market will be divided across three large operators: Telenet and Mobistar SA, with a market share of around 30% each, and incumbent Belgacom SA, with a market share of around 40%.

For KPN, the deal marks the latest step in its pull back from foreign markets after the sale last year of its German business E-Plus to Telefónica Deutschland for EUR8.6 billion.

KPN said the sale of BASE will enable it to focus on its operations in the Netherlands and that the proceeds, which were higher than analysts had predicted, will be used to "create maximum value for shareholders."

Write to Chelsey Dulaney at Chelsey.Dulaney@wsj.com and Archie van Riemsdijk at archie.vanriemsdijk@wsj.com

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