Carlyle In Talks To Buy Virgin Media

Staff writer Tom Heath reports that Carlyle Group, a District-based private-equity firm, is in the early stages of discussions to purchase Virgin Media, according to a source familiar with the talks.


Richard Branson

The Virgin Media deal could reach nearly $20 billion, according to the source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are ongoing.

The negotiations were reported in the Times of London over the weekend.

Virgin Media is a British company whose main product lines include broadband, wireless and fixed-line telephones. The public company, whose largest shareholder is Richard Branson, also has significant cable holdings.

Carlyle has deep experience managing telecommunications and cable companies going back more than a decade. The company operates telephone land lines in Hawaii through its ownership of Hawaiian Telcom. The firm also has cable companies in the United States and Europe.

Several Carlyle directors, including former Federal Communications Commission Chairman William Kennard, have experience in telecommunications.

Carlyle spokesman Christopher Ullman said the company had no public comment. Virgin could not be reached for comment.

The talks with Virgin come as Carlyle is in the middle of a string of sizable deals, including a $5.6 billion buyout of General Motors' Allison Transmission truck business announced last week and a $10.3 billion deal to buy HD Supply from Home Depot.

By Dan Beyers  |  July 2, 2007; 9:15 AM ET  | Category:  Media
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