Sunrise at war with top shareholder over cable deal - Mobile World Live

Sunrise at war with top shareholder over cable deal

22 AUG 2019

Swiss mobile operator Sunrise defended against scathing criticism of its proposed CHF6.3 billion ($6.4 billion) acquisition of cable company UPC Switzerland by largest shareholder Freenet, slamming the investor as self-serving.

In a statement, the operator said opposition to the deal by Freenet was unjustified, adding the stakeholder was: “guided by its own short-term financial constraints and self-serving objectives which it seeks to solve at the expense of Sunrise and its shareholders.”

In an attempt to accommodate some of Freenet’s criticism of the structure of the deal, Sunrise said it had attempted to make concessions, which were rejected by the investor.

Following what Sunrise deemed as “inappropriate requests,” Freenet’s board representatives will be excluded from deliberations related to the proposed transaction.

Sunrise added: “The board is convinced that the acquisition of UPC Switzerland creates a stronger and more valuable Sunrise. Sunrise has a clear plan to realise the synergies quickly to create compelling and attractive offers to customers and provide a state-of-the-art-telecommunications infrastructure for Switzerland.”

The comments come after Freenet, which owns almost a quarter of the Swiss operator, vowed to vote against the completion of the UPC deal at an extraordinary general meeting expected to take place by the end of the year.

In its statement, Freenet made a number of criticisms of the deal. Among these, it stated the purchase price and implied valuation of UPC Switzerland was too high and criticised the structure of the transaction.

It also demanded UPC owner Liberty Global take a stake in the combined company rather than being a cash only deal.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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