French telecoms group Iliad has announced its acquisition of Polish mobile provider Play, continuing its expansion in Europe.
Iliad, which is the parent company of Free, has signed a binding agreement to purchase a 40% controlling interest from Play’s two reference shareholders for 39 Polish zloty (€8.6) per share, which will give Iliad the majority of seats on Play’s management board.
It will launch a public tender offer for the remaining Play shares at the same price, representing a total of €2.2 billion for 100% of the share capital and an enterprise value of around €3.5 billion.
The companies have a combined 41 million subscribers in France, Poland and Italy. While it was the most recent entrant on Poland's mobile market in 2007, Play is the largest with 15 million customers, giving it a 29% market share.
Thomas Reynaud, Chief Executive Officer, Iliad, commented: “This excellent alliance constitutes a new growth driver for the Iliad Group and gives it access to one of Europe’s high-potential telecom markets. Pooling the expertise of Play’s and Iliad’s teams will reinforce the Iliad Group’s fundamentals through a combination of growth and innovation.”
He said the transaction will make Iliad the sixth-largest telecom operator in Europe.
Jean-Marc Harion, the Chairman of Play’s Management Board, said: “This alliance with the Iliad Group marks an important chapter in Play’s history, as it will accelerate its business development in fixed services. Play and Iliad share the same values and overall corporate vision. Our Board of Directors has unanimously approved the deal, firmly convinced of its strategic fit and value creation potential for Play’s shareholders.”
The acquisition will be financed by debt and cash. The deal is subject to regulatory clearance.