Virgin Mobile rejects NTL's $1.4B acquisition bid

Although recent studies have reported low consumer interest and lukewarm predictions for the UK's IPTV market, UK telcos may have averted another barrier for the new technology today. Virgin Mobile's board rejected the 323 pence per share NTL acquisition bid. The merger would have positioned NTL for quadruple play offerings: wireless, TV, Internet and VoIP. Tagging wireless service onto the end of the consumer's bundled bill is a coveted convenience for the subscriber and thought to lead to greater market share.

Virgin Mobile's Richard Branson broke the news on a UK radio show that only £25 million was holding back the merger. The company's board promptly announced their decision to decline without soliciting a higher bid. The Virgin board said that NTL materially undervalued the company. Analysts say a higher bid from NTL is on the way. The merger could mean trouble, especially for rivals BT Group and BSkyB. Sky said it will soon offer triple play offerings following its recent acquisition of the Easynet Group. BT plans to launch IPTV services in the UK next year.

For more on NTL's attempted acquisition of Virgin Mobile:
- check out this article from PC Pro