Polish operators targeted by South Korean celcos

Two South Korean mobile operators are in talks with Polish operators that have indicated their interest in seeking outside investors. KT Corp (formerly Korea Telecom) and SK Telecom are interested in entering the Polish mobile market and are said to be weighing up options including forming a joint venture with an existing network operator or taking an ownership stake in a local celco.

SK Telecom, which is reported to be particularly interested in entering the mobile internet market in the eastern European country, is thought to be negotiating with P4 (Play) or Polkomtel (Plus) regarding their strategic futures.

Two of Polkomtel's shareholders--electricity utility PGE (controlled by the Polish State Treasury) and oil refiner PKN Orlen--confirmed plans to offload their respective 21.85 per cent and 24.39 per cent stakes in September 2009.

The mining firm KGHM Polska Miedz previously stated it could sell its 24.39 per cent stake in Polkomtel if PGE and PKN sold theirs. However, the company poured cold water on the possible sale by claiming there was too little time for the multiple advisors of Polkomtel's diverse group of shareholders to reach agreement on a price and conduct a roadshow to complete a sale by the end of the year.

Korea Telecom has some experience of the Polish telecoms market having owned 30 per cent of shares in the Telepage paging network in the 1990s.

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