US investment group Franklin Mutual Advisors is seeking urgent talks with Virgin Media about its future direction. The fund manager has been gradually building its stake in the cablenet and now has a 9.4% holding in the company. Virgin’s largest shareholder is Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group with a stake in the region of 11%.
Franklin’s interest follows last week’s disappointing results for Virgin Media, which lost both subscribers and revenues in the midst of its high profile dispute with BSkyB over the carriage of channels in its basic packages.
Franklin has a history of making its presence felt. It is the largest shareholder in the Franco-Spanish tobacco group Altadis and is currently urging acceptance of a takeover bid from Imperial Tobacco.