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Liberty Global passes threshold for Sunrise acquisition

Liberty Global’s Swiss subsidiary UPC Switzerland has secured 82% of the share capital of mobile-focused service provider Sunrise following its public tender offer for the company.

The number of Sunrise shares tendered meant that Liberty was able to claim that, subject to confirmation, the minimum acceptance threshold of two thirds of Sunrise’s shares had been met.

An additional acceptance period for the offer will kick off on October 15 and will last for two weeks. Following the offer, Liberty Global will initiate a squeeze out and delist Sunrise, subject to conditions including regulatory approval.

Completion of the acquisition and delisting of Sunrise will represent a remarkable turnaround for Liberty Global, which abandoned an attempt to sell UPC Switzerland to Sunrise last year after encountering strong opposition among shareholders including Freenet, the Germany service provider that is Sunrise’s largest shareholder.

The current acquisition has also run into opposition, this time from alternative provider Salt, which initiated legal action to prevent the deal in August on claims that it violated a joint-venture fibre agreement between it and Sunrise.

In September, the Zurich commercial court rejected Salt’s application for an interim injunction against Sunrise on the basis of allegations that Freenet and members of Sunrise’s board were in breach of an exclusivity agreement between Sunrise and Salt to create the JV, Swiss Open Fiber.

While the court rejected Salt’s application, its decision remains subject to appeal with the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.