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Mergers & acquisitions

FT: We're Committed to Switzerland

Orange (NYSE: FTE) is going to revamp its strategy for the Swiss market in the wake of the failed merger between Orange Switzerland and Sunrise Communications AG , and is "absolutely committed" to continuing its operations in the country.

FT and sunrise's owner, Danish incumbent TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC), announced Thursday that their planned merger for Orange Swiss and sunrise, which was first announced in November 2009 and would have created a stronger second player to Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM), has been abandoned. (See European Carriers Catch M&A Fever.)

The proposal had been nixed by the regulator in April, and after that, following a "detailed analysis of their available options," FT and TDC decided to call off the merger.

That left the door open for FT to call time on its Swiss operations, given that it felt the market wasn't big enough to support three mobile operators.

But a spokesman for the French giant says it will continue with its operations and unveil a new strategy later this month that will focus on "digital entertainment and the small and medium-sized business market."

The operator also issued a statement saying that, with the merger blocked by the Swiss Competition Commission (ComCo), "the Swiss market is missing out on a great chance to redefine itself and offer consumers true and effective competition."

Thomas Sieber, CEO of Orange Switzerland, added in a prepared statement: "We operated over 10 years very successfully in the Swiss market and we will continue to do so in the future, especially with our key differentiators: a strong and unique brand, innovation leading mobile services and, last but not least, with unique employees."

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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