Media mogul Zygmunt Solorz-Zak has agreed to buy Polish cellco Polkomtel for PLN15.1 billion (USD5.5 billion) from UK-based telecoms operator Vodafone Group, Polish mining firm Kombinat Gorniczo-Hutniczy Miedzi (KGHM), oil refiner Polski Koncern Naftowy Orlen (PKN), electricity utility Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) and Weglokoks, a Polish coal exporter. The price excludes around PLN3 billion owed to its current owners in debt and dividends. A significant portion of the profits from the sale are expected to be passed to the Polish Treasury, which owns or partly owns KGHM, PGE, PKN and Weglokoks. Vodafone agreed to the sale as part of a wider scheme to divest itself of assets it does not control; it will use the profit from the sale to reduce its debt. In order to close the deal Solorz-Zak will need anti-trust approval from the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE). Solorz-Zak said in a statement that the acquisition would ‘significantly accelerate the rollout of LTE technology’. Earlier this month, the Polish billionaire raised PLN1.352 billion for investment in the sector by selling 25% of his shares in television network Cyfrowy Polsat, while he has long been the front runner for Polkomtel, edging out rival bidders Telenor and Apax.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of March 2011 Polkomtel was the second largest operator by subscribers with 28.9% wireless market share and 13.7 million users of its mobile services, branded as ‘Plus’.