Swiss operator Salt Mobile slammed the impact on its business of a Liberty Global attempt to takeover Sunrise, as it raised the possibility of legal action against its mobile rival for potentially breaking terms of their fibre joint venture.

In a statement, Salt Mobile said it had instructed a legal team to investigate details of Liberty Global’s proposed deal and was contemplating full court proceedings against Sunrise.

“Salt is concerned that the proposed transaction by which Liberty or its designated affiliate would acquire Sunrise infringes on contractual rights established as part of its Swiss Open Fibre joint venture with Sunrise,” it added.

It also claimed approval for the deal from both Sunrise’s board and largest shareholder Freenet had “destroyed significant value for Salt and its shareholders”.

The Swiss Open Fibre joint venture was unveiled by Salt and Sunrise in May, with the two planning to build a fibre network to compete with incumbent Swisscom. Construction was due to begin in Q4.

Liberty Global announced its surprise attempt to acquire Sunrise earlier this month, citing the benefits for competition in Switzerland and advantages of combining its cable and TV assets with the operator’s mobile network.

A prospectus for the shareholder tender was issued yesterday (27 August) with investors having from 11 September to 8 October to take the offer.

The offer is not the first time the two companies were in the frame for a high-profile tie-up: in 2019, Sunrise agreed and then walked away from a deal to buy Liberty Global’s UPC Switzerland following a shareholder revolt over the terms.