Liberty confirms end to UPC/Sunrise merger talks

18 Dec 2019

UK-based cable group Liberty Global has confirmed that it has terminated discussions with Swiss full-service provider Sunrise regarding a potential tie-up with its local subsidiary, UPC Switzerland. Sunrise had signed an agreement in February 2019 to acquire UPC, but immediately faced protests from its largest shareholder freenet regarding the terms of the deal. The operator’s shareholders and directors continued to feud over the issue until last month, when Sunrise confirmed that it had cancelled the takeover, triggering a CHF50 million (USD50.9 million) penalty payment to Liberty Global. At the time, Liberty had said it ‘remained hopeful’ that a new deal could be agreed. In its most recent statement, however, Liberty Global confirmed that it has ceased discussions regarding the merger of the two companies.

Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said of the matter: ‘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 son 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.’

Switzerland, Liberty Global (incl. LGI), Sunrise Communications (Sunrise UPC), UPC Switzerland (Sunrise UPC)