Liberty Global adds 314K subs as triple-play deals surge

John Malone's Liberty Global (Nasdaq: LBTYA) cable company added 314,000 subscribers in the third quarter thanks to a surge in customers signing up for triple-play packages that combine phone, Web and TV service. At the end of third quarter, Liberty had 47.8 million subscribers consisting of 21.8 million video subs, 14.1 million broadband internet customers and 11.9 million telephony subs.

The company beat analyst estimates, which expected it to only log around 223,000 new subscribers for the quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, Liberty reported revenue increased 74 percent to $4.4 billion, and 36 percent to $10.3 billion as compared to the third quarter of 2012.

However, Liberty also reported losses of $830.1 million, up from $22.4 million in the third quarter of 2012. Interest expenses increased to $605.7 million from $351.8 million a year earlier. The company blamed its losses on higher expenses from interest and income taxes. Liberty Chairman John Malone said in July that he was taking on more debt to expand European operations.

Interestingly, Liberty reported growth in triple-play packages in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The company also said people are clamoring for higher-speed data and signing up for higher-speed broadband packages. The company said it has increased the maximum speeds for download to more than 200 Mbps in many markets. In addition, many of the company's bundled packages include broadband tiers of at least 100 Mbps.

Last month Liberty Global inked a $1.04 billion deal to sell Chellomedia to AMC Networks (Nasdaq: AMCX). The deal sparked rumors that it could help Malone create a wave of U.S. cable consolidation.

In March, Liberty Media (Nasdaq: LMCA) agreed to buy a 27.3 percent stake in Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR). Since then, Malone and Charter CEO Tom Rutledge have said U.S. cable system consolidation could help operators reduce spending on programming and technology as well as compete more effectively against Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and other over-the-top video providers.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this press release

Special Report: Cable in the third quarter 2013

Related articles:
Liberty Global – AMC deal could fuel U.S. cable consolidation
Liberty Global could eclipse Comcast with $23.3 billion deal to acquire Virgin
AMC predicts 'volatility' from spending on original programming and marketing
Sapan: AMC contract talks could spark 'disruptions' for 2 small cable operators

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