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Liberty ups Ziggo stake again

US cable giant Liberty Global has raised its stake in Dutch cable TV broadcaster Ziggo from 18.2% to 28.5%.

Media mogul John Malone’s firm bought 17.5 million additional shares in the Utrecht-based company in connection with a hedging transaction relating to existing Ziggo shares, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Liberty said it raised its stake in Ziggo, with which it competes through its UPC Netherlands unit, for strategic reasons.

The company initially acquired a 12.65% holding in Ziggo from Barclays Bank earlier this year for about €632.5bn (US$808.6m). But in May, the stake was upped to 18.2% following the release of the company’s first-quarter results.

In response to the latest development, Ziggo said it would “continue to act in the best interests of its stakeholders in assessing steps made by Liberty” while continuing to focus on its own strategy.

A spokesman for Liberty declined to comment on whether the firm plans to increase its holding further.

The move is part of a series of acquisitions of European assets by Malone’s cable giant.

Last month, Liberty completed its acquisition of UK cable firm Virgin Media in a deal valued at £15bn (US$23.3bn).

However, the company lost out in its bid for Germany’s largest cable operator Kabel Deutschland to Vodafone, which paid €7.7bn for the company.

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