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Who is John Malone, the old fox of cable TV?

This is the man who has bought the Formula 1. In the United States, his home country, this is a big telecom for a long time already. On the old continent, it has been raging for several years with his Liberty Global Group, based in London, which is the world champion of the cable. John Malone, 75, always very discreet and the antithesis of the star system in which sometimes pay some businessmen, yet returns regularly in the spotlight, with “deals” ever more enormous. Last achieved on the acquisition last year of Time Warner Cable, number two in the US industry, by its Charter Group for $ 55 billion. The biggest check he ever signed!

The old cable fox prefers cowboy boots to suits and ties, the model is claimed to Patrick Drahi, Franco-Israeli businessman who hits the headlines with its multiple telecoms takeovers (SFR, Portugal Telecom, Cablevision …) for two years. There are so many similarities between the two men, in the style and conduct business, John Malone could almost say Patrick Drahi: “ This is a mini me !» But he prefers to say: “ is a genius!

“In business, you either devour or make yourself devour”

Throughout his career, John Malone has applied a single strategy: grow. One former president of the United States Al Gore had nicknamed Darth Vader because he had developed a technology to fight pirates satellites in Tennessee (the state) has become the global king of cable TV, to shot more than 100 billion of acquisitions. “In business, you either devour or make yourself devour” , has he used to say.

He could have s stop at 57, after the resale of TCI, the first company that Yale graduate has directed and turned into cash machine after downloading moribund. But the check for $ 48 billion that sign him then giant AT & telecoms; T, he uses instead to build a new empire. Today, he shares in Discovery Communications, owner of Eurosport including Lions Gate or the Starz pay TV network. He bought Virgin Media in 2013.

Financial Alchemy

The structure of its deals is exotic and its financial alchemy often confused Wall Street and investors “, said him the journalist Marc Robichaux, in the book” Cable Cowboy. ” He would hold his will to win by his inability to please his father who told him “ if you do not work as hard as possible, you’re a nobody. ” The failure of a first attempted sale of TCI to Bell Atlantic had plunged John Malone in a deep depression says “Cable Cowboy.”

This father of two, married for 50 years to the same wife, is also the largest landowner in the United States. F1 is surely not his last shot. We saw it recently asked for a reconciliation with the giant Vodafone. But the discussions were cut short. “ Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find Prince ,” he confided to the “Wall Street Journal”, he two years ago, when he already tried, unsuccessfully, to buy Formula 1.

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