The phone brand Orange Switzerland, recently bought by the French billionaire Xavier Niel, will not be around for much longer. The business, originally part of Orange S.A. in France, was acquired by Apax Partners, a private equity firm in 2012, and then eventually sold to Niel late in 2014.
Now the new management have now decided to change its name.
The Swiss company Orange Communications S.A. had 2.2 million customers and CHF 1.3 billion of revenue in 2014 putting it in third place behind Swisscom and Sunrise, Switzerland’s two largest telecom companies – in 2014 Sunrise generated CHF 2.1 billion of revenue from 3.3 million subscribers while Swisscom earned revenues of CHF 11.7 billion from 9.3 million phone subscribers (fixed plus mobile).
The new brand will be launched on 23 April 2015. One reason for the change is thought to be cost cutting. Orange Switzerland has to make on-going payments to Orange S.A. in France to use the brand and this cost adds up over time.
Xavier Niel has been involved in telecoms since he was 19. His first company sold services to Minitel, a French Internet-like service, which predates the Internet. As well as owning the Orange business in Switzerland he owns Monaco Telecom and has a stake in the French newspaper Le Monde. According to the Financial Times, Niel bought Orange Switerland for CHF 2.8 billion from Apax Partners who bought it from France Telecom Orange for €1.6 billion in 2012.