Play is part of the iliad Group, which also operates mobile networks in France (under the Free trade name) and Italy (under the iliad name), and has about 15 million subscribers in Poland. Iliad S.A. is the parent of iliad Group. SAa. the mobile subsidiary of Polish telecom company Iliad S.A.
UPC Poland has about 1.5 million subscribers and passes 3.7 million homes in the country. Liberty said the sale price represents about 9 times UPC Poland’s 2021 estimated adjusted EBITDA.
“This transaction highlights, yet again, the significant value of fiber-rich HFC networks in Europe, as well as the substantial synergy benefits inherent in fixed-mobile convergence mergers,” Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said in a press release. “We have been operating in Poland for over 20 years and are proud of our contributions to the country’s growing digital economy and the impact that we’ve made in the communities where we operate.”
Liberty Global said the cash proceeds from the deal — about $600 million — will boost its already hefty cash balance of $4.1 billion.
“As ever, we remain squarely focused on value creation and are pleased with the premium valuation we received for our Polish business, providing a strong return for Liberty Global shareholders,” Fries continued.
Proceeds from the sale, net debt repayment, will be used for general corporate purposes, including reinvestment into its business and for share repurchases. Liberty Global also has agreed to provide Play with certain transitional services — mainly network and information technology functions — for a period of up to four years.
Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor to Liberty Global for the transaction.
Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.
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