NEW YORK (The Deal) -- After a six-month hiatus, Liberty Global (LBTYA) said Friday it would launch its contentious 4.9 billion euros ($6.7 billion) offer for the 71.5% of Dutch rival Ziggo it doesn't already own in July as the European Commission takes a tough look at the deal's impact on competition in the Benelux countries.
Englewood, Colo.-based Liberty said Ziggo shareholders can tender their stock into the offer from July 2 to Sept. 10 with plans to delist the target should it succeed. Baptiest Coopmans, the CEO of Liberty's Dutch operations, would retain his position in the enlarged group with Ziggo CEO Rene Obermann leaving after less than a year with the company. Obermann quit as CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG to take up the helm at Ziggo on Jan. 1.
The two sides agreed on the offer on Jan. 27 and since then have been holding talks with Ziggo's Works Council.
The takeover still needs the approval of the European Commission. This week, the EC refused to allow Dutch competition authorities to rule on the deal and competition authorities have expressed concern the merger would stifle competition in the Netherlands since it gives Liberty about 90% of the cable market.
However, Liberty and other cable groups have argued that their market also includes telephone companies and sometimes even broadcasters. They also say it's becoming increasingly international.
The EC has until Oct. 17 to rule and its investigation can be extended. Brussels regulators opened a Phase II, in-depth review on May 8.