June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Polish billionaire Zygmunt Solorz- Zak was picked by Polkomtel SA’s owners for exclusive talks to buy Poland’s second-largest mobile phone operator, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Vodafone Group Plc, which owns 24 percent of Polkomtel, is unlikely to exercise its option to buy the operator, said one of the people. Solorz-Zak beat offers from private-equity firm Apax Partners LLP and Telenor ASA, the Nordic region’s largest phone company, the people said, declining to be identified because the process is confidential.
Polkomtel could help Solorz-Zak, the billionaire who controls television network Cyfrowy Polsat SA, tap rising demand for bundled phone, Internet data and TV services. Solorz-Zak, the second-wealthiest Pole according to Forbes magazine, was picked after getting financing for a bid that values the phone company at about 18 billion zloty ($6.5 billion), people with knowledge of the matter said last week.
Spokespeople for Solorz-Zak and Polkomtel’s owners declined to comment today. The shareholders of the company, which also include power utility PGE SA, copper producer KGHM Polska Miedz SA and oil refiner PKN Orlen SA, plan to complete the sale by the end of this month, PGE Chief Executive Officer Tomasz Zadroga said June 20.
The owners of Polkomtel, the operator of Plus brand, have been trying to sell the company since at least 2003. The company has about 14 million customers for voice and Internet services. France Telecom SA’s Orange unit is the country’s biggest mobile- phone operator.
The 2008 sale by Denmark’s TDC A/S of a 20 percent holding in Polkomtel provides a 3.7 billion-euro ($5.3 billion) minimum valuation, KGMH said in November.
Solorz-Zak’s bid represents enterprise value, including about 2 billion zloty of net debt, a 1.03 billion-zloty dividend due to current shareholders and a 130.7 million-zloty fine imposed by Polish antitrust regulators, people familiar with the offer said last week.
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