– UK, London – Liberty Global (NASDAQ: LBTYA), and Telefonica (BME: TEF) today announced their intention to appoint Lutz Schüler as CEO and Patricia Cobian as CFO of the proposed 50-50 joint venture combining Virgin Media and O2, subject to approval by the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK.
Liberty Global and Telefonica announced the joint venture last May, bringing together Virgin Media, the U.K.’s fastest broadband network, and O2, the country’s largest and most admired mobile platform. The combination will create a stronger fixed and mobile competitor in the U.K. market, supporting the expansion of Virgin Media’s giga-ready network and O2’s 5G mobile deployment for the benefit of consumers, businesses, and the public sector. The joint venture is expected to deliver substantial synergies valued at more than £6 billion on a net present value basis after integration costs and will create a nationwide integrated communications provider with £11 billion of revenue.
Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, and José Maria Alvarez-Pallete Lopez, CEO of Telefonica, said: “We are about to embark on an exciting new chapter for Virgin Media and O2, and Lutz and Patricia are the right leaders to deliver on our ambition to create the UK’s national connectivity champion. Together they will build a strong, diverse, and dynamic team that will bring more choice, more value, and world-class innovation to over 46 million fixed and mobile customers and the broader consumer and enterprise market. Lutz is a unique talent and a perfect fit for the new combined company. He has extensive experience in fixed and mobile and a fantastic track record at both Liberty and Telefonica driving transformation and growth. Together, Virgin Media and O2 will need to quickly capitalize on strategic opportunities in network expansion, digitalization, convergence, 5G, and video – all areas where Lutz has a strong background and a clear vision. We couldn’t have a better leader steering us through these critical and exciting times.”
About Lutz Schüler
Lutz Schüler joined Virgin Media in 2018 as COO and has been CEO at Virgin Media since June 2019. Before that, Schüler spent more than seven years as CEO of Unitymedia GmbH, Liberty Global’s highly successful German operation, which was sold to Vodafone in 2018. During his tenure at Virgin Media, he has transformed business performance with the acceleration of 1 Gig broadband, the rollout of new entertainment and smart WiFi services, and the market’s first fixed-mobile bundles. Schüler is a 27-year veteran of the telecoms industry, beginning his career at T-Mobile Deutschland in 1994 and later serving in various senior management roles, including COO, with Telefonica’s O2 German subsidiary from 1998 to 2010.
Lutz Schüler commented: “I’m both humbled and proud to be appointed CEO of this powerful combination between Virgin Media and O2, and I’m excited that we are getting closer to realizing our vision of creating a true connectivity champion in the UK. I have enormous respect for Mark and appreciate the partnership we’ve developed as we prepare both businesses to come together as one and I’m very enthusiastic about working with Patricia as CFO. She is an extremely talented leader and together we will build a strong, high-performing team.”
About Patricia Cobian
Patricia Cobian is currently CFO for O2, a position she has held since 2016. During a 15-year career with Telefonica, she has held several senior management positions. Before taking on her current role, Cobian was Director for Business Development in Telefonica Europe, where she led strategy, marketing innovation and played a key role in several partnerships, spectrum auctions, infrastructure sharing deals, and key acquisitions and divestitures in the region. She also led the post-merger integration planning of Telefonica Deutschland with ePlus. Before joining Telefonica, Cobian was a consultant with the TMT and Corporate Finance practices of McKinsey & Company.
Telefónica is one the largest telecommunications service providers in the world. The company offers fixed and mobile connectivity as well as a wide range of digital services for residential and business customers. With 344 million customers, Telefónica operates in Europe and Latin America. Telefónica is a 100% listed company and its shares are traded on the Spanish Stock Market and those in New York and Lima.
About Liberty Global
Liberty Global (NASDAQ: LBTYA, LBTYB, and LBTYK) is one of the world’s leading converged video, broadband, and communications companies, with operations in seven European countries under the consumer brands Virgin Media, Telenet, UPC, the combined Sunrise UPC, as well as VodafoneZiggo, which is owned through a 50/50 joint venture. Our substantial scale and commitment to innovation enable us to invest in the infrastructure and digital platforms that empower our customers to make the most of the digital revolution.
Liberty Global delivers market-leading products through next-generation networks that connect customers subscribing to 49 million broadband, video, fixed, and mobile telephony services across our brands. We also have significant investments in ITV, All3Media, ITI Neovision, Lionsgate, the Formula E racing series, and several regional sports networks.
For more information: https://www.libertyglobal.com/
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