Liberty considers exit of Swiss, Austrian markets

29 Nov 2017

UK-based Liberty Global is considering offloading its UPC-branded cable providers in Austria and Switzerland, the Telegraph cites sources familiar with the matter as saying. Work on the potential disposal is reportedly at an early stage and may not lead to a sale. Wireless provider Salt, owned by French billionaire Xavier Niel, is viewed as a likely candidate for purchasing the Swiss division, having previously indicated its intention to enter the fixed market. Once source cited by the paper also claimed that full service provider Sunrise could make a bid for UPC Switzerland, suggesting that Liberty Global might accept shares in Sunrise in exchange for its cableco. Differences in the technologies used by the two operators – fibre/DSL for Sunrise and HFC at UPC Switzerland – would complicate any merger of operations, however. TeleGeography notes that the tie-up would represent a combination of the market’s second and third-largest broadband providers by subscribers, creating a virtual duopoly between the merged entity and state-owned incumbent, Swisscom. Swiss authorities are unlikely to approve such a merger, having previously dismissed similar levels of concentration in the wireless market.

Austria, Switzerland, Liberty Global (incl. LGI), UPC Austria, UPC Switzerland