Liberty Global clears way for Sunrise takeover after being offered 82% shares

ZURICH (Reuters) – Liberty Global has been successful in its 6.8 billion Swiss franc ($8.74 billion) attempt to buy Switzerland’s Sunrise Communications after the all-cash offer was accepted by nearly 82% of the target’s shareholders.

Liberty Global, set up by U.S. cable pioneer John Malone, offered 110 Swiss francs per share of Sunrise, Switzerland’s second-biggest telecoms company, in a surprise deal in August.

The approach was a reversal of Sunrise’s failed bid to buy Liberty’s Swiss business, which collapsed after running into shareholder opposition last year.

At the end of the offer period on Oct. 8, 37.1 million Sunrise shares – equivalent to 81.98% of the voting rights and share capital – had been offered, the companies said on Wednesday in the definitive notice of the interim result.

The outcome, which exceeds the minimum acceptance threshold of two-thirds of all Sunrise shares being tendered, confirms the earlier provisional result.

An additional acceptance period of ten trading days will now start on Oct. 15 and run until Oct. 28.

An extraordinary shareholders meeting to be called by Sunrise will be held on or around Nov. 9, while Liberty Global intends to start the de-listing process for Sunrise from the SIX Swiss Exchange. It will also start the squeeze-out process for the remaining shareholders.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is the latest sign of consolidation in the telecom industry as companies try to cut costs and ramp up investments in technology.

($1 = 0.9151 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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