Liberty Global backs Sunrise capital hike with 500 million sfr offer

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ZURICH (Reuters) – Liberty Global (O:) has offered to buy up to 500 million Swiss francs ($502.11 million) of newly created Sunrise Communications shares (S:) – a move designed to ease through its 6.3 billion franc sale of its Swiss business.

Sunrise wants to raise 2.8 billion francs to finance the purchase of cable operator UPC, but the plan has run into opposition from shareholders who have said it is overpaying and were concerned Liberty Global was not taking part in the deal.

“Liberty Global has agreed to support the Sunrise rights offering up to an aggregate amount of 500 million francs through the purchase of tradeable subscription rights at market prices and the subsequent purchase of newly issued shares, if any, in the rights offering,” the company said on Monday.

If fully utilized, Liberty Global’s resulting ownership would reach 7.8% at current market prices, while Liberty Global will also receive one board seat nomination as long as its shareholding exceeds 5%.

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