Vodafone looks to build stake in Polish operator

Poland's second largest operator, Polkomtel, is being targeted by Vodafone as the global operator looks to increase its existing shareholding to over 24 per cent by acquiring part of Danish shareholder TDC's stake, following a ruling from a Vienna-based arbitration tribunal.

The tribunal has ruled that TDC is allowed to sell 14.8 per cent of its stake to a group of Polish companies but must enter talks regarding the sale of the remaining 4.8 per cent to Vodafone. Both companies currently hold 19.6 per cent of Polkomtel, as do Poland's largest oil refiner PKN Orlen and copper miner KGHM.

One person familiar with the situation was quoted as saying Polkomtel's state-controlled Polish shareholders have no interest in managing the mobile operator and are hoping through the TDC transaction to drive up the price at which they would sell out to Vodafone. As added pressure, the Polish government's current privatisation programme could eventually lead to Vodafone taking overall control of the company.

For more on this story:
- read CNN Money and The Financial Times