Swiss telecoms firm Sunrise eyes France Telecom again

23rd November 2010, Comments 0 comments

The head of Switzerland's second largest telecoms operator Sunrise said in a newspaper interview to be published Wednesday that he could not rule out fresh merger talks with France Telecom.

Sunrise's outgoing Danish owner, TDC group, had been planning to merge its offshoot with France Telecom-owned Orange's Swiss business but the plans were abandoned in June following a veto by the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO).

"I think we could not rule out new talks on a merger between Orange and Sunrise," Sunrise chairman Dominik Koechlin told the business weekly Handelszeitung, in advance extracts reported by Swiss business news agency AWP.

TDC agreed in September to sell Sunrise to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

Analysts have said that raised the possibility that it could be sold on again to the French telecoms group if the Swiss competition authority could be persuaded to soften its position.

Mobile operator Orange is one of Sunrise's biggest rivals in Switzerland.

COMCO had objected to a tie up on the grounds that a merged company would have taken a dominant position in the mobile telephone market alongside top Swisscom, leaving the country with just two networks.

France Telecom and Sunrise had planned a 1.5 billion euro merger in 2009, for an initial 75 percent stake in the Swiss firm, with an option to subsequently take over the rest.

CVC bought the whole of Sunrise for 3.3 billion Swiss francs (2.5 billion euros, 3.3 billion dollars).

© 2010 AFP

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