Cyfrowy Polsat plans record IPO

Polish pay TV platform to raise up to $500m

Cyfrowy Polsat, Poland’s leading pay TV satcaster platform, looks set to raise $480 million in a record-breaking initial public offering this month. IPO is the largest ever for a private company in the 17-year history of the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

No new shares will be issued. Instead, Cyfrowy Polsat plans to sell as much as a 28% stake held by its main shareholder, Polaris Finance, which is controlled by local media tycoon Zygmunt Solorz-Zak.

Should all offered shares be sold, Polaris Finance’s stake will drop from 93% to 65%, with Solorz-Zak retaining control. Depending on the final share price, the offer will bring in between $380 million and $480 million. The final issue price will be set on April 25, with the company planning to make its stock exchange debut on May 6.

The success of the offer will feature in Solorz-Zak’s decision concerning the potential IPO of his other company — Polsat, one of Poland’s three largest free-to-air webs, which he launched on satellite in 1991.

Established in 1996, Cyfrowy Polsat has 2.2 million subscribers. Its closest competitor, Cyfra Plus (a subsidiary of Vivendi’s Canal Plus) has around 1 million, while “n,” which bowed in October 2006, has 300,000.

Cyfrowy Polsat’s net profit in 2007 was $51 million, up from the previous year’s $25 million.

The company plans to launch mobile telephony services under the platform’s brand this year. According to Dominik Libicki, Cyfrowy Polsat’s president, the service has already begun consumer tests.

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