Liberty officially ends UPC Switzerland, Sunrise merger | Major Businesses | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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The long-drawn saga of Liberty Globlal’s attempted divestment of its Swiss operation, UPC Switzerland, to Sunrise Communications Group looks now to be over at last with the global media firm bringing matters with the Zurich-based telco to an end.

surise 28Feb2019Events began in February 2019 when Liberty announced that it had reached a binding agreement with Sunrise’s board of directors to sell UPC. However the deal never gained full shareholder approval and now Liberty says that it has terminated discussions regarding the combination of the firms.

The proposed transaction was valued at CHF 6.3 billion ($6.3 billion) and expected to close prior to year-end 2019, will create what Liberty and Sunrise said would have been the leading converged challenger in the Swiss market with scale across all elements of the quad play bundle. At the end of 2018, UPC Switzerland’s cable network passed 2.3 million homes and served 1.1 million customers who subscribed to 1.1 million video, 700,000 broadband and 520,000 voice services. It would have been the latest in a series of divestments in central and East European assets by Liberty over the last year.

Yet even after the proposed deal gain received unconditional regulatory approval in September 2019, weeks later Sunrise cancelled its extraordinary general meeting (EGM), with approval from Liberty Global, due to a dispute with its largest shareholder and the Share Purchase Agreement providing for the transaction was terminated in November. After payment to Liberty Global of a CHF 50 million break fee, negotiations continued up until this announcement. These talks have now been ended.

In a statement explaining its actions, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said: “We wish Sunrise well but we are moving on. Despite our willingness to show significant flexibility on terms, it’s clear to us that the Sunrise Board of Directors and their largest shareholder cannot agree amongst themselves on the best path forward. As we close that door, we are excited by the success of UPC Switzerland’s turnaround plan and free cash flow generation, and we will obviously consider other strategic options in the marketplace.”