Dewey, Latham scoop lead roles on $6.6bn Polkomtel buyout bonanza

Eleven law firms have advised on the $6.6bn sale of Polkomtel, Poland’s second largest mobile phone network operator, in Europe’s largest leveraged buyout for three years.

Eleven law firms have advised on the $6.6bn sale of Polkomtel, Poland’s second largest mobile phone network operator, in Europe’s largest leveraged buyout for three years.

International firm Dewey & LeBoeuf scored a top role representing the purchaser Spartan Capital Holdings, indirectly controlled by Polish media tycoon Zygmunt Solorz-Zak, handling both the acquisition and financing for the investment.

Managing partner of the firm’s Warsaw office Jaroslaw Grzesiak, who led the transaction team, said: “This transaction is a historic milestone in Poland’s post-credit crunch economy. The acquisition is a response to the rising demand for bundled phone, internet data and TV services in Poland and demonstrates that the market is primed for major transactions again.”

The sale of Polkomtel, which operates the Plus brand and has about 14 million customers for its voice and internet services, attracted widespread interest from bidders, with Spartan beating offers from private equity company Apax Partners and Nordic phone company Telenor.

The acquisition is being financed through a combination of equity provided by Spartan alongside a debt financing package arranged by a consortium of banks. The consortium is co-ordinated by Credit Agricole CIB and Deutsche Bank, and is fully underwritten by Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, RBS, Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking and PKO Bank Polski.

Latham & Watkins, Norton Rose and White & Case advised the finance parties, with London banking partner Chris Kandel leading the Latham advisory team, Norton Rose partner Piotr Strawa acting as Polish counsel and White & Case partner Kevin Ng acting as security agent.

The current owners of Polkomtel include Poland’s largest power group PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, oil refiner and petrochemical giant PKN Orlen, Polish copper company KGHM Polska Miedz, Polish coal exporter Weglokoks and mobile operator Vodafone.

PGE was advised by Allen & Overy with Warsaw partner Jacek Michalski leading, PKN Orlen was advised by Clifford Chance led by partner Agnieszka Janicka, KGHM was advised by Gide led by partner Dariusz Tokarczuk, Weglokoks was advised by in-house counsel and Vodafone was advised by K&L Gates with partner Maciej Jamka leading.

Swedish firms Cederquist and Vinge also provided Swedish law advice on the deal and L. Papaphilippou & Co provided Cyprus law advice.

Solorz-Zak, the man behind purchasing company Spartan Capital Holdings, is the chairman and founder of Cyfrowy Polsat, the largest digital broadcaster in central and eastern Europe.

His latest high-profile purchase follows Cyfrowy Polsat’s acquisition of Telewizja Polsat for approximately €1bn in April, which at the time was Poland’s largest ever media deal.