Swiss competition authority WEKO will examine the planned takeover of Liberty Global’s cable subsidiary UPC by telecommunications company Sunrise in greater detail.
Initial investigations had revealed indications that the merger would create or strengthen a dominant position in various markets, the authority explained in a statement. These are the provision of sports broadcasting rights in pay-TV and IP interconnection access to the end customers of Sunrise and UPC.
In the view of WEKO, there are also indications for the creation or strengthening of collective market dominance together with incumbent telco Swisscom in the areas of broadband internet, fixed-line telephony, linear digital TV and video-on-demand.
For these reasons, WEKO is examining in detail how the planned merger would affect competition. The investigation has to take place within four months, according to the local competition law.
Sunrise announced in February 2019 that it would acquire UPC Switzerland for CHF6.3 billion (€5.5 billion). With the move, Sunrise intends to strengthen its position as the second-largest local player in the mobile, TV, broadband and fixed-line telephony market after Swisscom.
UPC is the largest cable operator in Switzerland with 2.3 million reachable households (60% of all Swiss households) and 1.1 million customers. With over three million customers, Sunrise is a strong player in the mobile communications market and also offers TV, Internet and fixed-line telephony.