Polish Mogul Solorz-Zak May Enter Race for Polkomtel Battle

Polish billionaire Zygmunt Solorz-Zak may enter the race for Polkomtel, the country’s largest mobile phone company, Reuters reported, adding that advisors to Solorz-Zak have spoken with private equity firms about a potential bid. Bankers value Polkomtel at roughly 4 billion euros ($5.3 billion), Reuters said.

(Reuters) – Polish media mogul Zygmunt Solorz-Zak could wade in to a multi-billion euro bid battle for Polkomtel, the country’s top mobile phone company, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Advisers to 54 year-old Solorz-Zak, one of Poland’s richest men, have spoken to private equity firms looking at Poland’s largest mobile operator by sales, the people said.

A process that may see British mobile phone company Vodafone and four domestic shareholders sell out of Polkomtel entirely was due to start soon.

Solorz-Zak, who last week denied interest in Polkomtel or any other telecom up for grabs in Poland, now declined to comment on the issue.

Bankers value the company at around 4 billion euros ($5.3 billion), although the shareholders are also considering a flotation of some or all of their stakes.

“People close to Solorz are talking (to private equity). There is no guarantee that anything will emerge, but conversations are taking place,” one of the people said.

TPG and Blackstone are working on a possible joint bid for Polkomtel, other people said previously. Apax [APAX.UL], KKR , EQT, CVC [CVC.UL] and BC Partners are also considering whether to enter the fray, bankers said.

Nordic telecoms group TeliaSonera , a rare example of potential trade interest, could also bid after hiring an adviser, bankers said.

Solorz-Zak, who built his empire in the late 1970s from trading between communist Poland and Germany, would probably want a majority stake in a consortium bid, a second person said.

“I am not sure the larger private equity players would agree to that,” the person said, adding consortia were forming because a buyout of Polkomtel would require around 1.5-2.0 billion euros in equity finance.

He recently pocketed 2.2 billion zlotys from the merger of his two TV operations – Poland’s top pay-TV broadcaster Cyfrowy Polsat and broadcaster Polsat, which he formed in the 1990s as Poland’s first private broadcaster. [ID:nLDE6AE034]

Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator by revenue, has a stake of around 25 percent stake in Polkomtel.

The remaining 75 percent is held between Poland’s state-controlled copper miner KGHM , utility PGE , refiner PKN , and coal trader Weglokoks.

All the shareholders have their own advisers. Nomura , which is working for PKN, has been asked to co-ordinate the process on behalf of all the investors. (Additional reporting by Pawel Bernat; Editing by David Cowell)