KKR Backs Out of Polkomtel Sale

Buyout shop Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. has backed out of the race for Polish mobile operator Polkomtel, Reuters reported. The company is expected to be valued at up to 18 billion zlotys ($6.6 billion). Last month Polkomtel shortlisted seven bidders, including private equity firms Apax Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Bain Capital and KKR.

(Reuters) – Private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) (KKR.N) has backed out of the race for Poland’s No.2 mobile operator Polkomtel [PTL.UL], a source close to the transaction told Reuters on Wednesday. KKR declined to comment.

Vodafone (VOD.L) alongside Polish state-controlled KGHM KGHM.WA, PKN Orlen PKNA.WA, PGE PGEP.WA and Weglokoks are selling Polkomtel in an auction expected to value the operator at up to 18 billion zlotys ($6.6 billion).

Last month, Polkomtel’s owners had shortlisted seven bidders, with sources telling Reuters the group included Polish tycoon Zygmunt Solorz-Zak, Nordic operators TeliaSonera (TLSN.ST) and Telenor (TEL.OL), and private equity firms Apax [APAX.UL], Providence, Bain Capital, and KKR. [ID:nLDE72A1BU]

But last week local media quoted Polkomtel’s deputy head Krzysztof Kilian as saying that the number is now down to five, as bidders are now in the process of due diligence.

“People are dropping like flies around this process,” The source said. “They thought they have some 50 potential buyers, now they may think they’ve got 4 or 5, but at best it’s going to be three.” (Reporting by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by Gareth Jones and Mike Nesbit) ($1=2.740 zloty)