NTL started its journey as National Transcommunications Ltd, a UK company engaged in owning and managing terrestrial TV transmitters. It evolved into a cable company during the telecommunications boom in the 1990s following an aggressive acquisition path. Its biggest acquisition was that of the residential consumer unit of CWC in 2000, effectively the cable and domestic telephony element.
NTL overpaid and took on far too much debt. The original version filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2002. A $10bn debt for equity swap ensued and a new company emerged in early 2003. It was an entirely different company in all but name.
The new NTL survived until 2006 when it merged with Telewest to form a single UK cable telecommunications operator. Virgin took on a small equity interest for a time before exiting. As part of the entry and exit arrangement Virgin leased its brand to the newly merged entity which re-branded itself as Virgin Media. Virgin retains an ongoing commercial relationship in the form of a fee for use of its brand.
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