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Regulator approves transfer of Sunrise’s radio licence to Liberty Global

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Switzerland’s Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) found no concerns about competition, allowing the acquisition to proceed.

Liberty Global’s acquisition of Swiss mobile operator, Sunrise Communications, has been given the green light by the regulator. In its Q3 results published today, Liberty Global said it expects to conclude the transaction by the middle of this month.

The proposed SFr 6.8 billion (€6.2 billion) acquisition was announced in August. Last year, an attempt by Sunrise to acquire Liberty Global’s UPC cable unit in Switzerland was thwarted by major shareholders objecting to the level of debt that would arise from the deal.

Now ComCom has said after its investigation that it has found no grounds for concern about damaging competition in the Swiss market.

Technical capabilities

ComCom decided that Sunrise would “continue to meet the licensing requirements after a takeover by Liberty Global”, as it still had the mandatory technical capabilities “to provide its customers with high-quality mobile radio services”.

Liberty Global's aim is to gain 30% market share in Switzerland of mobile, fixed broadband and TV customers – convergence being the central plank of the parent company’s growth strategy.

Lost earnings

Not everyone is happy. Salt Mobile (part of the French Iliad Group) has objected, claiming the acquisition breaks the terms of a joint venture, called Swiss Open Fibre, that it set up with Sunrise in May.

The founder of the Iliad Group, billionaire Xavier Niel, has said he intends to sue Sunrise for lost earnings regarding the fibre joint venture and that in the meantime, Salt would cease activities relating to it.