Xavier Niel, the French billionaire behind Saltand the Free brands in France and Italy, claims the deal breaches an exclusivity agreement.
Niel announced he was considering a law suit on the day UPC Switzerland, the local Liberty Global cable unit, issued its prospectus laying out the terms for its €6.2 billion acquisition of Swiss MNO Sunrise Communications.
Salt, an alternative Swiss mobile company, says it has an exclusive, bi-lateral agreement with Sunrise to jointly invest in a fibre network to better challenge the country’s incumbents Swisscom and UPC Switzerland. The two pledged to invest €2.79 billion over the next five to seven years in fibre infrastructure.
Salt said that the deal with UPC “infringes on contractual rights”. Sunrise’s CEO, André Krause countered that the contract with Salt excluded a public tender offer and pointed out that UPC’s offer was not sought by Sunrise.
Salt was formerly Orange’s Swiss mobile operator, which Niel’s organisation bought in 2014.