Iliad granted antitrust clearance for €3.5bn Play acquisition

Iliad granted antitrust clearance for €3.5bn Play acquisition

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Iliad has won EU antitrust clearance for its acquisition of Polish mobile group Play.

The European Commission confirmed the decision last week, paving the way for the French telecoms operator to become the sixth largest operator on the continent.

Iliad announced its intention to acquire Play in September with the launch of a public tender and the purchase of a controlling interest from Play’s two shareholders. Settlement of the tender is scheduled for 25 November.

Iliad said at the time: “For iliad, the acquisition represents a unique opportunity for growth and for entering the Polish telecom market. With 38 million inhabitants, Poland is central Europe’s largest market. It is the sixth-largest economy in the European Union and has seen steady growth for 28 years; per capita GDP has risen 6% on average per year over the last twenty years.”

Over the last 12 months, Play generated €1.6 billion in revenues1 (up 2% year on year at constant exchange rates), €523 million in EBITDAaL (32.1% margin), €359 million in OpFCF (22% margin) and €269 million in FCF (before its dividend payment).

Iliad said its “expertise and experience” will reinforce Play’s standing in the mobile market and facilitate its entry into the fixed market. Iliad also pledged to help accelerate the digital distribution of Play’s offerings, with Play’s incumbent management team at the helm.

Iliad CEO Thomas Reynaud, said: “This excellent alliance constitutes a new growth driver for the Iliad Group and gives it access to one of Europe’s high-potential telecom markets. Pooling the expertise of Play’s and Iliad’s teams will reinforce the Iliad Group’s fundamentals through a combination of growth and innovation. The transaction will make Iliad the sixth-largest telecom operator in Europe. Fully committed to implementing its Odyssey 2024 Plan, Iliad is a solid group that is pursuing its expansion with confidence.”

Jean-Marc Harion, the chairman of Play’s management board, added: “This alliance with the Iliad Group marks an important chapter in Play’s history, as it will accelerate its business development in fixed services. Play and Iliad share the same values and overall corporate vision. Our Board of Directors has unanimously approved the deal, firmly convinced of its strategic fit and value creation potential for Play’s shareholders.”