TeliaSonera is reported to be among the potential buyers for Polish mobile operator Polkomtel, following a sale process that apparently started on Monday – after years of speculation about the future of the operator. Reuters says that TeliaSonera sees the business as a strategic fit due to its geographic closeness to its existing Nordic and Baltic operations, and also notes growth potential in the business. According to local reports, there has been significant interest in Polkomtel, with 50 companies accessing preliminary information issued for the sale – although this is an early stage in the process, before the serious bidding begins. It is also believed that the deciding factor in the sale will be simple – price. A figure of EUR4 billion has been suggested. According to earlier reports, a number of investment banks are also in the running, with the possibility that Turkish operator Turkcell may also be interested.
Dow Jones Newswires notes that the sale is “expected to be protracted,” because Polkomtel is being sold by five companies, four of which include the state as a significant investor, each of which has its own advisors. 24.4 percent of Polkomtel is owned by oil company PKN Orlen, 24.4 percent is owned by minerals company KGHM, 21.9 percent is owned by energy grid company PGE, and 4 percent is owned by minerals company Weglokoks. The other company selling is Vodafone, which holds 24.4 percent through two of its holding companies. For some time, Vodafone was mooted as the most likely buyer for Polkomtel, although this changed as the company shifted its focus to improving shareholder returns by disposing of minority stakes, rather than acquiring more businesses. According to Wireless Intelligence data, Polkomtel, which uses the Plus brand, is the second-largest operator in Poland, behind market-leader Orange.