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Virgin Media chief won’t battle Sky over football rights

Virgin Media won’t be looking for a fight with Sky over football rights, according to the firm’s incoming head. 

Tom Mockridge, who takes over as chief executive from Neil Berkitt in June, told the Guardian that his arrival would not spark a newfootball bidding war. Mockridge takes the reins as chief as media mogul John Malone’s Liberty Global takes over the UK cable company. Malone is a long time rival of Rupert Murdoch. 

He said that there would not be a bidding war for Premiership rights between Sky and Virgin. 

“The short answer is no. There’s plenty of other people prepared to bid good money for football. Our strategy has been invest in content opportunistically but not bet the ranch on it,” he told the paper. 

Mockridge has spent 22 years working for Murdoch and has recently worked and News International’s chief executive. He has also worked as head of Sky’s operations in Italy. He has not ruled out expanding Virgin’s cable network in the UK, which currently only serves half the UK population. The rest is mainly covered by BT. 

“There might be other ways of expanding the reach of Virgin Media, it’s too soon to say. It is something we will look at more closely but we are not proclaiming any strategic areas here today,” he told the Guardian

Despite the takeover, Virgin Media will not by rebranding. It will have its headquarters in the UK, Amsterdam and Denver. 

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