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Report: Liberty Global looking to sell Swiss unit

Liberty Global plc is looking to sell its Swiss subsidiary UPC Schweiz to mobile service providers Salt Mobile SA or Sunrise Communications AG, or to a private equity firm, Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported Feb. 18.

The report follows Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries acknowledging during a Feb. 15 earnings call that the Swiss unit had experienced "pretty intense competition" in both fixed video and broadband.

However, Fries stressed that investment into areas such as new sport services and smarter bundles had boosted operating cash flow.

He also said his company would still be able to compete on both scale and growth by tapping into "strategic options" in Switzerland, where its broadband network reaches nearly 70% of the market.

Fries dismissed speculation that his company is dismantling its European operations, despite entering into discussions to divest key assets in Germany and eastern Europe and deciding to sell its Austrian business to Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG.

Last year, analysts identified Switzerland as one market where the cable giant, which is controlled by American media mogul John Malone, could see long-term benefits from acquisitions.