Clifford Chance Warsaw has advised Warburg Pincus on its sale of a majority stake in INEA, the fibre-to-the-home and cable operator in Western Poland, to Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5, managed by global infrastructure investor Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. Macquarie was advised by Allen & Overy.
According to Clifford Chance, INEA, which was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Poznan, Poland, "offers triple and quadruple-play telecommunications services to its residential and business customers, including cable TV, broadband, fixed and mobile telephony."
Warburg Pincus initially invested in INEA in 2013 when the firm acquired a strategic minority stake in INEA and subsequently acquired a majority position in INEA to support the ongoing growth of the business. Under Warburg Pincus' ownership, INEA constructed a 4,500 km fibre optic backbone network (Wielkopolska Siec Szerokopasmowa) and increased its last mile network footprint from 360,000 Homes Passed (HP) to 500k HP, with further 200k HP expansion already contracted with support of EU funds. As a result, according to Clifford Chance, "Wielkopolska enjoys today the best quality telecom infrastructure in Poland."
Clifford Chance further reports that, "thanks to very substantial capital expenditure during Warburg Pincus' ownership, INEA rapidly modernized and expanded its network and became the fastest broadband provider in the country, offering commercially 1,000 Mb/s download speeds. INEA's internet quality became the best in the country as testified by independent studies. INEA's EBITDA doubled since Warburg Pincus' investment, driven by healthy growth of revenue and margins. In the last four years, INEA implemented numerous initiatives leading to higher cross-sell of services, higher service quality, and more streamlined processes. INEA also relocated its headquarters, became a name sponsor of Lech Poznan stadium (now called INEA Stadion), launched Lech TV and expanded its product portfolio with collocation and hosting services served from its newly built data centre in Wysogotowo. Finally, during Warburg Pincus' ownership, a new infrastructure wholesale strategy has been finalized and put into practice, which creates multiple growth avenues for the future outside of Wielkopolska."
The Clifford Chance Warsaw team was led by Partner Wojciech Polz. The core transactional team consisted Warsaw Senior Associate Mateusz Stepien, Of Counsel Nick Fletcher, and Associate Joanna Pominkiewicz.
The A&O Warsaw M&A team was led by Partner Jarosław Iwanicki and Senior Associate Maciej Skoczynski, with support from Warsaw consultant Hugh Owen. Advice on EU funding issues was provided by Partner Marta Sendrowicz, Counsel Małgorzata Dobrzynska-Dabska, and Associate Elzbieta Krajewska.