André Krause becomes CEO of the merged Sunrise-UPC. (Screenshot: Youtube.com/SCIB)
The move marks UPC chief Baptiest Coopmans' return to parent Liberty Global after 10 months at the helm of the Swiss cable operator, where he will take on a senior operational role, the U.S.-British company announced in a communiqué on Monday.
Krause is an outstanding leader with a proven track record of growth, innovation and value creation at Sunrise, Liberty CEO Mike Fries said in the communiqué. He is uniquely qualified to lead the integration of UPC and Sunrise and implement the growth plans, he added. Krause's appointment had been in the offing after Coopmans was elected to Sunrise's board of directors a week ago.
Ex-UPC boss returns
In addition, Coopmans' predecessor at the top of UPC, Severina Pascu, is returning to Switzerland. She will become vice CEO and chief operating officer of the joint Sunrise-UPC, Liberty Global added. Pascu was previously vice chief executive and chief financial officer of Virgin Media in the UK. She had led UPC from September 2018 to January 2020 (Werbewoche.ch reported).
Fries said he was thrilled that Pascu was coming back to Switzerland. She is a world-class operational leader with great experience in the Swiss market, he said. Pascu and Krause are a "dream team".
In the next weeks and months, the further management team will be determined and the structure of the joint organization will be defined, said Krause in an interview with the news agency AWP. After that, it will be decided who gets which job. "You can only make job cuts once you have defined the processes. At management level it will happen sooner, at employee level later."
The new company will be called Sunrise-UPC. The brands with which it will appear on the market are still being considered. "It will probably not be just one brand," said Krause.
Until the integration is completed at the beginning of next year, however, Sunrise and UPC will operate independently of each other, Liberty Global explained. The group is thus following through with its plans as it had announced earlier.
Potential competitor for Swisscom
Together, Sunrise and UPC want to become a more potent challenger to top dog Swisscom. Together they will achieve sales of CHF 3.1 billion and have 2.1 million mobile subscribers. With 1.2 million broadband customers and 1.3 million TV subscribers, they will achieve a market share of around 30 percent in each area.
One aim of the merger is also to eliminate the respective weak points. Sunrise, for example, is getting its own fixed network, while UPC is now getting a mobile network.
Liberty Global had completed its takeover of Sunrise last Wednesday with the acquisition of over 98 percent of Sunrise shares. The cable network giant had made the multi-billion dollar offer to buy Sunrise in August (Werbewoche.ch reported). Sunrise shareholders will receive CHF 5 billion in cash. This values Switzerland's second-largest telecoms group at CHF 6.8 billion including debt.
Now the procedure for the compulsory compensation of the remaining minority shareholders (in technical jargon "squeeze-out") is being initiated, whose shares are to be declared null and void. Once these proceedings have been completed, the Sunrise shares are to be delisted from the SIX Swiss Exchange. (SDA)