The sale of Polsat to Cyfrowy Polsat is more than a clever piece of company restructuring and could have far-reaching implications for Poland’s electronic communications marketplace.
When Zygmunt Solorz-Zak appeared at the PIKE conference in Sopot last month he could scarcely hide his enthusiasm for the internet and how it will be increasingly used for the sale of content. He also spoke of his belief that media and telecom services will eventually be merged.
Although the announcement of the sale has taken many people by surprise, there seems to be a general consensus that Solorz-Zak has pulled off a shrewd deal that will help him achieve his ambitions. Armed with a war chest around PLN2 billion (€507.5 million), he looks likely to invest some of the money in the telco sector, perhaps a mobile operator. Indeed, Polkomtel and P2 have already been mooted as possible take-over targets in some quarters.
It is also believed that he will invest some of his money in building up a LTE technology-based 4G network.
Solorz-Zak will of course remain a shareholder in the newly expanded Cyfrowy Polsat, which according to the latter’s president Dominik Libicki will be in a much stronger position following the deal, especially in the middle to long term. While there has been close cooperation until now between the DTH platform and broadcaster, bringing them under one roof should ensure stronger growth in subscriber numbers and higher APRU.
The real effects of the deal are nevertheless likely to be felt in the wider marketplace and perhaps most keenly by leading competitors such as the national commercial broadcaster TVN and incumbent telco TPSA, who, it has to be said, are already working together, having struck a 10-year content deal as recently as last month.
TVN has also undertaken its own piece of restructuring, having bought the DTH platform n from its parent company ITI Group last year.
Similar consolidation, leading ultimately to the creation of converged media and telecom groups, can probably be expected in other CEE markets in the near future.