Poland’s number four operator Play (P4) will be put up for sale by its investment fund owners Tollerton and Novator for up to PLN7.5 billion ($2 billion), according to Reuters.
The sale could happen in the first or second quarter of next year, with the controlling funds set to pick their advisers soon.
Greek fund Tollerton and Iceland’s Novator own a 50.3 per cent and 49.7 per cent stake respectively and gained full control of the operator in 2008.
P4 was the last mobile player to enter the Polish market less than a decade ago.
A source speculated that a number of established European players could be interested in a possible acquisition of the company, which competes with domestic rival Polsat (Plus), Orange and Deutsche Telekom for market share.
According to GSMA Intelligence, P4 has a 22 per cent share of the market, with more than 13.2 million connections.
“It would be hard to push a P4 takeover by a local player through the regulators,” said the source. “It may, however, be quite a snitch for Nordic telecoms like Telenor, TeliaSonera, or Liberty Global, which owns cable operator UPC in Poland.”
Both Telenor and TeliaSonera have looked at entering into Poland in the past, and were among the bidders interested in acquiring Polkomtel (Plus), when the company was up for sale in 2011.
P4, meanwhile, has been one of the most outspoken critics of the government’s proposals to change the rules midway through the country’s 4G auction, with Tollerton threatening legal action against the move.
The proposals have since been approved, and the auction, which has been running since February, could end this month.