NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Virgin Media Inc. jumped in early afternoon trading Monday after British newspaper The Observer said four U.S. private equity firms are prepared to make an offer for the British television and telephone company. ...The Observer, based in London, ...said it had seen a document entitled "Project Coaxial" which described the offer. Advisers to the firms provide analysis in the document for bid prices ranging from $17 to $22 per share, but no timetable was mentioned, The Observer said.
...A Virgin Media spokeswoman declined to comment.
The British government has ruled that Virgin Media's competitor British Sky Broadcasting must sell its stake in independent broadcaster ITV PLC. The government found BSkyB's ownership of ITV to be anticompetitive and against the public interest. Although Virgin Media is not expected to pursue a bid for ITV, the finding is a victory for Virgin as the company has been fighting through the courts to weaken BSkyB's control of U.K. television content.
The telecommunications companies BT Group and Virgin Media agreed to a five year contract on the operation and maintenance of Virgin's fixed-line voice switching network. Virgin expects the agreement to allow it to add significant cost savings and to focus on developing its voice network business. BT, meanwhile, continues to add to the list of clients and networks in its portfolio.
Virgin Media has appointed Goldman Sachs to seek a possible buyer, after it received approaches from several private equity firms. Carlyle Group reportedly offered to buy the company in recent weeks, but they declined to disclose the terms of their offer.