Sunrise boss does not expect another Liberty gesture


Sunrise boss does not expect another Liberty gesture

Tuesday, 15.10.2019

For Sunrise's boss, Olaf Swantee, this is a "clear signal of Liberty's confidence in the merger, cable network technology and the company." (Keystone)

After the commitment made earlier this week by the parent company of UPC, Liberty Global, to acquire the capital of Sunrise as part of the acquisition of its subsidiary, the CEO of the Zurich telecom operator Olaf Swantee no longer expects new concessions from the US-UK group.

"We will hold in a week the extraordinary general meeting during which will take place the vote on the financing of the transaction to 6.3 billion", recalled the head of Sunrise Tuesday in Zurich on the sidelines of the Huawei-5G-Forum. "I'm not expecting any more Liberty gestures by then," he added.

The day before, Liberty had indicated its support for 500 million francs to a capital increase of Sunrise up to 2.8 billion, to finance the acquisition of UPC Switzerland. If successful, the multinational would own 7.8% of the Zurich operator.

For the Sunrise leader, it's a "clear signal of Liberty's confidence in the merger, cable network technology and the company." The support of UPC's parent company is a reaction to the posture of the ISS investor advisory firm, which had voiced its opposition to the deal.

ISS had criticized the purchase price of 6.3 billion francs as too high and recommended to reject the proposed capital increase, thereby supporting the position of Sunrise's main shareholder, the German Freenet, which holds 24.5% shares of the Swiss telecom number two.

At the general meeting convened for October 23, Sunrise will need more than half of the votes to carry out its operation. The risk of this failing is concrete if Freenet and other shareholders vote against, since the participation rate in recent years has fluctuated between 62 and 67%.

Asked about the number of votes won, Olaf Swantee kicked in, saying it is "difficult at the moment to make any predictions".

Returning to the arguments of the opponents, the leader considered it "absurd" to believe that the latest generation of mobile communication technology (5G) could replace the cable network of UPC, whose speed can reach 1 gigabit per second (Gbit / s). He also recalled that the coverage of 5G inside buildings was not easy.

Asked if he would resign if the deal failed, Sunrise's boss remained cryptic. "These are not my priority thoughts, now it is Sunrise, I do not worry for the time of my own job".

According to him, the failure of the acquisition of UPC would be a missed opportunity for the Swiss public, and leave the leader Swisscom without competition worthy of the name. (AWP)

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