Iliad bids for UPC Poland; Play and Orange hit with legal action

Iliad makes bid for UPC Poland; Play and Orange hit with legal action

France’s Iliad has made a non-binding offer to take over Poland’s largest cable firm UPC as it seeks to establish a fully converged operation in the market.

CommsUpdate reports that the offer is valued at PLN7.3 billion (US$1.9 billion), based on estimated EBITDA of PLN782 million for 2021. Iliad is currently in talks with UPC’s owner Liberty Global, with both parties confirming that an agreement may not be reached.

As part of its strategy to create a converged player in Poland, Iliad acquired a stake in Polish mobile operator Play in September 2020. The French group went on to take over Play in full by buying out minority shareholders.

By folding UPC’s offering together with Play’s, Iliad’s converged Polish player would be able to compete with Orange Poland and Polsat Plus Group. Iliad’s ambitions were further underlined by its confirmation that it is exploring its options for creating a fibre optic unit in the market.

Together with Orange Poland, Play has recently fallen afoul of Polish regulator UOKiK for charging customers for extras without first securing their consent. The watchdog has taken legal action and the operators could be fined as much as 10% of their annual revenue.

UOKiK President Tomasz Chrostny said: “During sales talks, consultants only informed consumers about the amount of the subscription, they did not mention the costs of additional services. Remember that the inclusion of any services must take place with the express and informed consent of the subscriber.”

Rival operators Polkomtel and T-Mobile were fined last month for similar reasons.