bne IntelliNews -
Polish media group Wirtualna Polska Holding set the price on its forthcoming IPO at PLN32 (€7.9) per share on April 24, marking a partial retreat from its highly ambitious pricing guidance.
The price is short of the PLN37 that topped the initial price range. Despite the current enthusiasm for Polish media and IT stocks, fund managers had suggested over the past couple of weeks that the pricing looked overly ambitious.
At PLN32, the total value of the float would come to PLN481mn, and offer a valuation for the group at just over PLN1bn. The operator of Poland's biggest internet portal will debut on the Warsaw Stock Exchange on May 8.
WP will sell 9.2mn shares, including 3.3mn newly issued shares. The current owners, private equity funds Innova Capital and MCI Management, are putting up a stake of up to 23.5%, or 5.85mn shares. Innova bought Wirtualna Polska in 2014 for PLN383mn. MCI Management later bought into Grupa Wirtualna Polska for PLN60mn (€15mn).
The much-anticipated float comes amidst a boom in activity in Polish TMT, as investors seek exposure to growing consumer spending. "Consumption is growing nicely," Tomasz Krukowski of Deutsche Bank told bne Intellinews in March, "and there's not many opportunities to play it. The WSE is full of banks and heavy industry."
Some PLN50mn-80mn of the proceeds from the IPO will be allocated to acquisitions, the company has said. WP is looking to maintain its slight advantage in the fight for internet supremacy in Poland with rival onet.pl.
“Competitors are breathing down our neck and we want to use the IPO money for acquisitions,” WP CEO Jacek Swiderski said in mid-April. “We want to keep investing in e-commerce, which expands twice as fast as the internet advertising market.”
The IPO comes hot on the heels of a high priced purchase of Poland's second largest private TV network TVN by US Scripps networks in a prolonged sales process that attracted several international groups. Another TV channel operator, Puls TV, also announced last month that it plans to debut on the WSE.
At the same time, private equity is cashing out. Local group ITI exited in the sale of TVN. The head of MCI said in March that the fund manager will partially exit Wirtualna Polska during the IPO.
"Now is very positive for tech internet IPOs in Western Europe and the US, and I expect this trend to accelerate also on the Warsaw Stock Exchange," MCI Management's Tomasz Czechowicz told bne Intellinews.
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