Reuters – UPC and PE Firms Eye Poland’s Multimedia

Private equity groups and local rival UPC are circling Polish cable group Multimedia Polska which is up for sale with a price tag of about 700 million euros ($861 million), writes Reuters. Permira, EQT and Mid-Europa Partners are considering placing bids for the business.

(Reuters) – Private equity groups and local rival UPC are circling Multimedia Polska MULPO.UL, Poland’s No.3 cable group which is up for sale with a price tag of about 700 million euros ($861 million), sources close to the deal told Reuters on Tuesday.

First round bids are due next week as the long-flagged process gains momentum, the sources added.

Permira, EQT and Mid-Europa Partners (MEP) are considering placing bids for Multimedia, controlled by co-chairmen Tomek Ulatowski and Ygal Ozechov who delisted the group from the Warsaw stock exchange last year, the sources said.

The company has also attracted the attention of Liberty Global’s (LBTYA.O) local unit UPC, which bought Poland’s No.4 cable player Aster from MEP last year for 870 million zlotys ($253 million), after agreeing to sell off part of its network.

The UPC-Aster tie-up forged a player with a 30-percent market share and 1.4 million customers.

Multimedia provides a combination of digital television, broadband and fixed line and mobile services to more than 700,000 customers in Poland, where the cable market has grown at an average 4 percent a year over the last five years.

The company reported adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 327 million zlotys last year, with net profit at 102 million.

UPC, the private equity groups and JP Morgan, which is running the deal for Multimedia, refused to comment.

Multimedia was not immediately available for comment. ($1 = 3.4384 Polish zlotys) ($1 = 0.8130 euros)

(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Adrian Krajewski in Warsaw, and Simon Meads and Victoria Howley in London; Editing by David Cowell)