The first public offer has been made by TeliaSonera to acquire the Poland's top operator, Polkomtel. While up to 10 companies have reportedly submitted offers, the Swedish-based operator confirmed has made an indicative bid that analysts estimate could be as much as €4.4 billion.
According to a Bloomberg report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, other bids have already been submitted by private equity firms and other operators keen to acquire Poland's largest mobile service provider. A joint offer from TPG Capital and Blackstone Group has already been received, while America Movil, Telenor, Telefonica and a local business man are also thought to be interested.
The Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris--presently attempting to merge his Wind Telecom assets with Russia's VimpelCom --said late last year that he might be interested in making an offer.
Speculating on the likely outcome, Andrew Hogley, a London-based analyst at Execution Noble, told Bloomberg that between $5.5 billion to $6.9 billion (€4 billion to €5 billion ) was probably about the right price range based on the limited financial disclosure that he had seen. "It's a bolt-on acquisition rather than intra-market consolidation."
Hogley added that bidding could involve all the other major European operators, including Russian, and some Middle Eastern and Indian operators that have the cash. He discounted France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom from any activity as they already have networks in Poland, and the local telecom's regulator would likely block them from increasing their market share.
Polkomtel's owners have confirmed they would evaluate all offers by the end of March, making a sale during the first half of this year a possibility.
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