Sunrise faces fresh opposition to Liberty Global deal

German activist investor Active Ownership Capital (AOC) has joined the growing list of investors in Swiss telco Sunrise to openly oppose its agreement to acquire Liberty Global’s Swiss unit.

According to Reuters, citing AOC founding partner Florian Schuhbauer, the investment outfit things the price paid for UPC Switzerland is too high.

Schuhbauer told Reuters that Sunrise should renegotiate the deal or, preferably, drop it altogether.

AOC, which has a stake of under 3% in Sunrise, has so far been unable to persuade the Sunrise board to change its plans.

Sunrise is continuing to feel the heat in its battle to see through its acquisition of Liberty Global’s Swiss unit, UPC Switzerland, with one of its investors calling for the removal of its chairman earlier this week.

Sunrise said that Luxembourg-based funds group Axxion had requested the removal of Peter Kurer, Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors, and the removal of Jesper Ovesen, Member of the Board of Directors, be put on the agenda of the company’s next extraordinary shareholders meeting.

Sunrise’s biggest shareholder, Germany’s Freenet, is adamantly opposed to the acquisition. Sunrise accused Freenet board representatives of “a conflict of interest” and resolved to exclude them from discussions about the merger after Freenet accused Sunrise of agreeing to pay too much for UPC Switzerland at a time when the cable business is under pressure.

However, Reuters recently reported that other investors share Freenet’s view, with two big investors indicating they would oppose the deal with Liberty Global, while a third has expressed reservations.

Liberty Global meanwhile has rejected making any changes to its agreement with Sunrise for the sale of its Swiss unit.

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