France's Iliad bids for 100 pct in Polish mobile phone operator Play

France's Iliad bids for 100 pct in Polish mobile phone operator Play Radek Pietruszka/PAP

French telecoms group Iliad is bidding for 100 pct of Polish peer Play Communications at PLN 39 per share, Play and Iliad said in separate press releases on Monday.

Play entered Poland's mobile market in 2007 and since then has built up 15 million subscribers and gained a 29-percent market share.

Iliad has secured a deal to buy 40 percent of the firm's capital from two key Play shareholders. The public offer is made by Iliad's unit, Iliad Purple, Play said.

Play's Management Board has a positive attitude to the offer submitted by Iliad, Play CEO Jean-Marc Harion said as cited in the press release. He said his company is pleased to be able to take up with their new future shareholder many exciting challenges on the Polish market, such as the development of 5G technology, implementation of the broadband network offer, development of cloud services and a new approach to television.

"Play and Iliad have a lot in common, we have both been game-changers in our markets and have opened up mobile usages by proposing innovative offerings accessible to everyone," Play's statement read.

According to Harion, an alliance with the Iliad Group marks an important chapter in Play’s history, as it will accelerate its business development in fixed broadband and ultra-fast broadband services, to which Iliad will contribute its expertise.

Thomas Reynaud, Iliad’s CEO, said that his company is happy to enter the Polish market. "This excellent alliance constitutes a new growth driver for the Iliad Group and gives it access to one of Europe’s high-potential telecom markets. Pooling the expertise of Play’s and Iliad’s teams will reinforce the Iliad Group’s fundamentals through a combination of growth and innovation," Iliad's press release read.

Subscriptions will start on October 19 and end on November 17. The acquisition will be financed by debt and cash. Play's total capital is valued at EUR 2.2 billion. It's enterprise value, including debt, is estimated at about EUR 3.5 billion.