Germany’s United Internet buys Polish web hosting service home.pl

By bne IntelliNews July 10, 2015

Germany's United Internet announced on July 10 that it has reached an agreement to acquire Polish webhosting leader home.pl via its 1&1 Internet SE subsidiary.

The purchase price of all shares in home.pl amounts to around €135mn in cash – subject to adjustment at closing, the German company said in a statement. Interest-bearing liabilities amounting to around €20mn will be repaid as the deal is closed with the selling investors, which are led by private equity fund V4C Eastern Europe.

Home.pl employs 240 people and has 300,000 customers. It is expected that EBITDA will amount to €10mn this year, while sales will reach around €25mn.

Following the takeover, which is subject to approval from relevant anti-trust authorities, home.pl will continue to operate as an independent company under its current management team. Together with the United Internet brand 1&1, which has operated in Poland since 2010, it aims to gain further ground on the Polish market.

Polish media and internet market has sparked no little interest amongst investors seeking to tap growing consumer spending in the country. US media group Scripps Networks Interactive has just closed a deal for 52.7% in broadcaster and internet portal operator TVN, and now plans to buy the remaining shares in the company.  

Media company Grupa Wirtualna Polska - operator of Poland's biggest internet portal - started trading on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) on May 8, while Gremi Grupa's media assets were listed on the WSE at the beginning of the month.

Analysts suggested United Internet paid handsomely for its takeover of home.pl, paying 15.5 times estimated 2015 operating profit, reports Reuters. However, they also note as a good strategic fit offering growth prospects that should make it a worthwhile deal. 

The German company said at the same time that it may float its arm offering web-hosting and online services for corporate customers to fund an acquisition drive.

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