Swiss full-service provider Sunrise has confirmed reports that it is in advanced discussions with UK-based Liberty Global regarding the acquisition of the latter’s Swiss unit, UPC Switzerland, for an enterprise value of CHF6.3 billion (USD6.3 billion). Sunrise stressed, however, that no decision had been made yet, adding that it ‘will only pursue a transaction if it is strategically compelling and demonstrably value creative for its shareholders.’ Whilst a tie-up would form an entity capable of challenging state-owned incumbent Swisscom’s hold on the nation’s telecoms markets, Swiss regulators have previously been reluctant to approve mergers that might result in a reduction in competition in a particular segment.
As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, UPC and Sunrise are Switzerland’s second and third-largest ISPs by subscribers, controlling a combined total of just under 30% of the broadband segment at the end of September 2018. The pair also have a presence in the wireless market, although UPC operates only as MVNO with a subscriber base of 137,800 in Q3 2018. Mobile network operator (MNO) Sunrise by contrast claimed a subscriber base of around 2.5 million at the same date, equating to roughly 21.5% of the segment.