Virgin Group seeks European cable deals

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Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is reportedly in talks with France's largest cable operator, Numericable, over the use of the Virgin Media brand name. According to The Times, triple-play provider Numericable—which was formed in 2005 from a merger of France Telecom Cable and NC Numericable—could be the first of several other European cable operators to rebrand themselves as Virgin Media.

UK cable group ntl rebranded as Virgin Media in February. Ntl's acquisition last year of Virgin Mobile left Branson's Virgin empire with a 10.5% stake in the converged communications provider, and Branson then agreed a 30-year licensing arrangement for the Virgin brand.

Last week Virgin Media said the removal of Sky's basic channels in March prompted an estimated 40,000 cable TV subscribers to cancel their contracts. The quad-play provider, which has delayed an auction for the company following recent turmoil in the financial markets, lost 70,300 cable customers in the second quarter.

Lovelace Consulting  |  13.08.2007

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