Under the terms of a preliminary agreement between the two parties, InfraVia Capital Partners will acquire, for PLN1.775 billion (€379 million), a 50% stake in a subsidiary of the Play Group, operating under the name FiberForce. By the end of 2022, the Play Group plans to transfer the broadband infrastructure of UPC Polska (HFC and FTTx), covering over 3.7 million households, to FiberForce.
Additionally, FiberForce has ambitions to build over 2 million additional fibre optic connections. The company will make its network infrastructure available to other telecommunications operators (including Play and UPC) in an open and non-discriminatory access model in order to maximise the use of the constructed infrastructure by consumers.
Commenting on the development, Jean Marc Harion, president of Play and UPC, said: “This partnership is another milestone in strengthening our position as a nationwide leader in infrastructure, enabling millions of new customers in Poland to use super-fast internet. Thanks to the wholesale open access model, we want to set new standards for broadband access and ensure freedom of choice for all. We hope that this new investment will help significantly reduce the digital gap and ensure the development of innovation for the benefit of our customers, society and the economy”.
Vincent Levita, president and founder of InfraVia, added: “We are very pleased that we can develop our cooperation with the iliad Group through a joint venture with the Play Group. This will enable us to build a key asset in this developing sector together with a leading partner on the Polish market”.
Play Group is a leading provider of convergent fixed-line internet, digital TV and mobile services under the Play and UPC brands in Poland, while InfraVia Capital Partners is a French private equity company specialising in infrastructure and technology investments.
Broadband TV News notes that iliad Group and InfraVia Capital Partners already work together in France, having entered into a partnership in February 2020 to accelerate the rollout of FFTH in medium and low-density parts of the country.
Iliad’s founder Xavier Niel has also invested in a tech-focused fund set to up by InfraVia Capital Partners.