Dow Jones Newswires is reporting that US private equity groups TPG and Blackstone Group and London-based Apax Partners are among potential bidders for Polish mobile phone operator Polkomtel. Polkomtel has a handful of shareholders, mainly former state-owned utilities, which had been mulling the listing of Polkomtel on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, but are now reported to have opted for a private sale. An information memorandum is expected to be circulated by the end of August, with a closing date of later this year or early next.
Poland’s largest power group PGE holds a 21.85% stake and is being advised by ING Securities. Oil refiner PKN Orlen holds 24.39% and is advised by Nomura, while copper miner KGHM Polska Miedzy holds 24.39% and is advised by Credit Suisse. Poland’s Treasury owns stakes of 84.99%, 27.52%, and 31.79%, respectively, in the three companies. Coal miner Weglokoks, which is wholly state-owned, holds a 5% stake in Polkomtel. Vodafone Group also holds 24.39% of the firm, but has not thus far publicly revealed its Polish strategy.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Polkomtel is the largest of Poland’s six mobile network operators, with 14.3 million subscribers at the end of March 2010, equivalent to a 31.7% market share.