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Liberty Global ends talks on Sunrise, UPC Schweiz merger

Liberty Global PLC ended discussions over a merger of its UPC Schweiz unit with Swiss cable operator Sunrise Communications Group AG.

"Despite our willingness to show significant flexibility on terms, it's clear to us that the Sunrise board of directors and their largest shareholder cannot agree amongst themselves on the best path forward," Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said in a news release.

Liberty Global in February agreed to sell UPC Schweiz to Sunrise for a total enterprise value of CHF6.3 billion. The deal secured regulatory approval in September.

However, majority of Sunrise's investors led by German telecom group freenet AG opposed the deal's terms. Sunrise ultimately called off an extraordinary shareholders meeting to approve a proposed CHF2.8 billion equity issuance to fund the acquisition. While Sunrise already paid a CHF50 million termination fee, Liberty Global still hoped the deal could be rescued.

Liberty Global plans to focus on its more profitable operations with healthier pay TV and broadband markets. The company earlier completed the sale of its assets in Germany and eastern Europe to Vodafone Group PLC.