Virgin accepts NTL's $1.67b offer

Virgin Mobile Holdings, owned by Richard Branson, has finally accepted a 962.4 million pound ($1.67 billion) offer from cable operator NTL, an Associated Press report said.

The report also quoted analysts as saying that the deal that will create Britain's first powerful 'quadruple-play' communications company.

Analysts also said the agreement, which will allow the combined company to offer broadband, fixed-line and mobile telecommunications services as well as television under the Virgin brand, will set the standard for consolidation in the sector.

The Associated Press report also quoted NTL president and CEO Steve Burch as saying that the purchase of Virgin would create a 'unique force,' adding that the company will eventually re-brand all of its cable TV and Internet services as Virgin.

But he added that NTL's priority is to complete the integration of its acquisition of Telewest Global, the cable operator it bought in March, the report said.

NTL is giving Virgin Mobile shareholders a choice of three options, including a cash offer of 372 pence ($6.44) a share. Shareholders can also take 0.23245 NTL shares for each Virgin share, or 0.18596 NTL shares plus 67 pence ($1.17) in cash. Virgin Group, which holds 71% of Virgin Mobile, will retain a 10.7% holding in the merged business after opting to take a mixture of cash and shares.