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Liberty Global will not amend terms of Swiss unit sale

Liberty Global will not amend terms of Swiss unit sale
FILE PHOTO: Swiss telecom company Sunrise's logo is seen at an office building in Zurich, Switzerland February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann -
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ARND WIEGMANN(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Liberty Global Plc <LBTYA.O> said it would not change the terms of a planned sale of its UPC business in Switzerland to Sunrise Communications <SRCG.S> despite criticism of the deal from the Swiss telecom firm’s largest shareholder.

German telecoms group Freenet AG <FNTGn.DE> said last week it remained open for talks after criticising Sunrise’s planned 6.3 billion Swiss franc (5.27 billion pounds) takeover of UPC’s Swiss business, saying the all-cash deal was unfavourable for Sunrise shareholders.

It has asked for the price to be lowered and for Liberty Global to maintain a stake in the business.

“Liberty Global is fully committed to completing the transaction as agreed. The company has not had any discussions regarding amending the binding transaction terms, and has no intention or interest in doing so”, Liberty Global said on Tuesday.

Sunrise’s planned 4.1 billion Swiss franc rights issue to fund the deal requires a simple majority vote. Freenet, which holds a 24.5% stake in Sunrise, has said it would vote against the rights issue.

Sunrise stepped up efforts to rescue the deal last week, saying it had identified new cost savings and could cut the size of the rights issue, but still failed to win Freenet over.

UPC Switzerland’s second-quarter revenue fell 3.6% compared to the year-earlier period. Investors are closely monitoring the company’s performance to see whether the Sunrise bid is fairly valued.

Sunrise shares slipped 0.8% in early trading, while Freenet rose 0.4%.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Kirsten Donovan)

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