Liberty Global is in talks with Sunrise Communications Group about a potential partnership to combine and expand their businesses in Switzerland, reports Bloomberg with reference to people having knowledge of the matter.
The discussions could lead to a joint venture between Liberty Global’s Swiss cable unit UPC and local telco Sunrise, according to the people who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. They added that the combined companies’ structure could mirror the deal Liberty Global arranged in the Netherlands between its local subsidiary Ziggo and Vodafone two years ago.
However, the discussions are thought to be at an early stage and may not lead to an agreement.
The talks with Sunrise don’t come as a surprise following comments made by Liberty Global’s CEO Mike Fries in February 2018 that the company considers Switzerland to be one of its “core markets” in which it wants continue investing to become a larger player. This lead to industry speculation that Liberty Global could try to arrange a tie-up with Sunrise or its competitor Salt to turn UPC into the second largest player in the local telecommunications market after Swisscom.
In Austria, however, where UPC’s market position is weaker than in Switzerland, Liberty Global recently decided to sell its cable subsidiary to T-Mobile Austria, the Austrian subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom.