Last year, Providence led a group including Blackstone and KKR, which approached Virgin with an offer of about $34 a share.
Earlier this month Carlyle put a preliminary offer on the table of $30 a share, a bid that would value the company at up to £5.6bn. Including a debt of nearly £6bn gives Virgin an enterprise value of around £11.5bn.
A sale to a private equity buyer would be another major event in Virgin Media’s mixed past after a series of deals over the past few years. The drawn-out merger of NTL and Telewest finally went through in March last year before Virgin Mobile joined the fold a few months later leaving the company as the only ‘quad-play’ provider in the UK following the rebranding as Virgin Media.
Virgin Media has 3 million TV customers, 3.4 million broadband users, 4.1 million fixed-line telephony customers and 4.5 million mobile subscribers.
First round offers are expected in the next few weeks.