Liberty Global sells UPC Poland to iliad
September 22, 2021
Liberty Global has reached a definitive agreement to sell 100 per cent of its operations in Poland to iliad’s Polish mobile subsidiary Play.
At June 30th 2021, Liberty Global’s networks in Poland passed 3.7 million homes and served 1.5 million customers who subscribed to 1.3 million broadband, 1.4 million video, and over 600,000 telephony services.
Liberty Global has agreed to sell UPC Poland for a total enterprise value of PLN 7.0 billion (€1.53bn) subject to customary debt and working capital adjustments at completion. The sale price represents a multiple of approximately 9x UPC Poland’s estimated 2021 Adjusted EBITDA, and nearly 20x its estimated 2021 operating free cash flow. Closing of the transaction is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of requisite regulatory approvals. The closing is currently expected to occur in the first half of 2022.
iliad is the parent company of the iliad Group, which operates under the trade names of Free in France, iliad in Italy and Play in Poland. Play is a consumer-focused mobile network operator in Poland with over 15 million subscribers. It provides mobile voice, messaging, data and video services for both consumers and businesses on a contract and prepaid basis under the umbrella brand Play. Its 4G/5G telecommunications network covers 99% of the Polish population.
Mike Fries, Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Global, said: “This transaction highlights, yet again, the significant value of fibre-rich HFC networks in Europe, as well as the substantial synergy benefits inherent in fixed-mobile convergence mergers. 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. I’d like to thank and commend the entire UPC Poland management team, most recently under Robert Redeleanu’s leadership, for their hard work and dedication over the years. UPC Poland, the largest cable television operator and a leading provider of triple play services in Poland, and Play, which covers 99 per cent of the Polish population with its mobile services, together will have the scale from Day 1 to be a powerful force in the Polish market. We are highly supportive of the rationale behind this combination and are excited to watch this converged national champion deliver high-quality connectivity across the Polish market.”
“The cash proceeds, net of debt repayment, from this asset sale of approximately $600 million will boost Liberty Global’s already substantial cash balance, which stood at $4.1 billion as of June 30, 2021. 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 added.
In conjunction with the transaction, Liberty Global has agreed to provide Play with certain transitional services for a period of up to four years. These services principally will be comprised of network and information technology-related functions. Annual charges will depend upon the actual level of services required by Play.
Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor to Liberty Global on the transaction.