Citigroup leads acquisition of Polish telecoms stake

Vivendi Universal has announced that it is to sell its stake in Elektrim Telekomunikacja in Central Europe’s largest private equity deal.

Vivendi Universal has signed a memorandum of understanding to dispose of its 49 per cent stake in Elektrim Telekomunikacja, majority owner of Poland’s largest mobile telecoms company, Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (PTC), to a consortium of financial investors.

Citigroup, along with a number of financial investors, believed to include Dutch retailer Eastbridge Group and Poland's BRE Bank, has reached an agreement with Vivendi Universal to acquire its 49 per cent for a fee believed to be in the region of E400-600m. According to a report on Interfax, Eastbridge and BRE Bank are also considering a bid to acquire the remaining shares in Elektrim, which is currently in discussions with bankers to stave off the threat of bankruptcy.

The deal is likely to be Central Europe’s largest private equity deal, although the disposal will realise a loss for Vivendi, which paid E1.8bn for its stake in Elektrim in 2000.

Vivendi Universal will keep a minority interest in the holding company for the acquisition but will be granted a put option to allow it to completely withdraw from Elektrim. Vivendi expects to complete the deal within the next two months.