John Malone, the U.S. media mogul and chairman of Liberty Global, is considering entering a $23 billion auction for cable operator Virgin Media, the Financial Times reported on its Web site on Sunday.
Malone, who also chairs Liberty Media, called his interest in Virgin Media exploratory but said his company was doing our homework, the FT reported.
Virgin Media had asked suitors to submit expressions of interest by the first week of August to kick off an auction of the company, people familiar with the situation told Reuters earlier this week.
About 10 suitors have expressed an interest, sources told Reuters, since private equity firm Carlyle Group made an initial offer earlier this month.
Financing a $23-billion equity and debt package in tight credit markets may make Liberty Global an attractive partner for a private equity bidder, the FT reported.
Liberty Global, the holding company for Malone's non-U.S. cable assets, spans much of Europe and as well as cable systems in Japan and Latin America, but has been frustrated in the UK and German markets, the FT also said.