Barclays sells off its Dutch slice for £535m

Barclays has offloaded its stake in the Dutch media group Ziggo to the billionaire who is buying Virgin Media. The banking group has agreed to sell a 12.7 per cent holding to Liberty Global, which is controlled by John Malone, pictured, for €633m (£535m). Last month, Mr Malone agreed the $16bn (£11bn) takeover of Virgin Media.

Liberty has pay-TV operations around the world and is the largest cable operator in most of its 11 European markets. The group has played down suggestions it is trying to go head-to-head with the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, despite its aggressive expansion across Europe.

The Colorado-based group said: "Liberty Global considers the acquisition of this minority stake in Ziggo as an attractive opportunity to make a strategic investment in a market where it already enjoys a sizeable presence through its UPC Netherlands subsidiary."

Barclays was left holding the Ziggo shares after failing to find enough bidders for a stake it was selling on behalf of Cinven and Warburg Pincus. The bank had agreed to underwrite the so-called block sale.