John Malone’s Liberty Global Eyes Virgin Media in Possible $24B Deal

The deal would place Malone up against rival News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch, who owns Britain's largest satellite group BSkyB

John Malone's Liberty Global is in talks with Virgin Media to buy the pay-TV giant, Virgin said in a statement on Monday.

Getty ImagesThe deal, which Reuters reported could be worth up to $24 billion, would place Malone up against rival News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch, who owns Britain's largest satellite group BSkyB. Virgin is the U.K.'s second largest pay-TV provider.

Virgin, created in March 2006 with the merger of NTL Inc. and Telewest, says it has nearly five million subscribers.

A spokeswoman for Liberty declined to comment to TheWrap. A spokesman for Virgin did not immediately reply to requests for additional comment.

Malone and Murdoch previously locked horns a decade ago over control for DirecTV, the largest satellite provider in the United States. Both sides eventually backed down.

At 8:13 a.m. PT, shares in Liberty were up 0.82 percent to $111.79 and Virgin stock rose more than 17 percent to $45.27.