Last updated: October 16, 2013 4:21 pm

Ziggo rejects takeover offer by John Malone’s Liberty Global

John Malone’s European buying spree of cable assets was dealt a blow after Dutch operator Ziggo said on Wednesday it had rejected a takeover offer by the US billionaire's Liberty Global media group.

Ziggo said in a statement that it considered the “preliminary” offer inadequate and cautioned there was no certainty of any revised offer. It did not detail the terms of the approach.

The news sent shares in Ziggo up 8.4 per cent to €31.68, the highest in more than five months. At that price, the company has a market capitalisation of about €6.3bn.

Colorado-based Liberty raised its stake in the company to 28.5 per cent in July.

Mr Malone has been steadily snapping up assets in Europe as part of his drive to expand in the continent’s pay-TV market. In February 2012, Liberty paid $23.3bn in cash and shares to buy Virgin Media, the UK cable group. That followed its 2011 acquisition of bought German cable provider Kabel Baden-Württemberg for $4.5bn.

“Ziggo this week reported rapid and rising customer growth for its all-in-one internet, TV and telephone service in the third quarter, in part because of higher investment in marketing. But overall customers are down slightly year on year, due largely to the market-wide decline of traditional analog and digital pay-TV customers.”

Ziggo said this month the pace of its customer growth had slowed in the third quarter because it had cut back on promotional activity amid intense competition from rivals including KPN, the former state telecoms monopoly.

René Obermann, Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive who is stepping down at the end of the year, is poised to take over the helm at Ziggo in 2014 from Bernard Dijkhuizen, who is to retire.

This article has been modified from the original publication in regards to quarterly figures

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