Private equity firm Innova Capital through its special purpose vehicle, European Media Holding S.à r.l., will finance the acquisition of Wirtualna Polska from TP S.A. and its merger with Grupa o2. The transaction marks the foundation of a media group under the name of Grupa Wirtualna Polska – a new leader in the horizontal portal segment in Poland. The transaction value amounts to PLN 375 m.

The combination of o2 and Wirtualna Polska denotes the emergence of a new leader among internet portals in Poland, offering comprehensive content – news, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, as well as modern services available via mobile applications or e-mail.

o2 and WP are complimentary product-wise. The merger will give the new group the scale of operations and the audience required to accelerate organic growth. We will gain the ability to offer advertising agencies and viewers attractive video content, interesting vortals and mobile apps. We believe given the doubled investment effort, we will also strengthen the leadership position in the email market in Poland – states Jacek Świderski of the Grupa o2 S.A. management board.

Krzysztof Krawczyk, Managing Partner of Innova Capital believes the Polish internet market provides immense consolidation opportunities:

We believe that by combining Wirtualna Polska and o2 we will create the number one player in Poland. We are monitoring market trends both on our market and globally, and will be looking for add-on acquisitions, also outside the areas both portals have been operating in so far – indicates Krawczyk, who also adds: It has been eighteen years since Wirtualna Polska was set up. The merger with o2 opens a completely new chapter in the history of WP, which already is the number one provider of e-mail accounts in Poland. We intend to use this momentum in order to achieve the same position in other categories.

The combination of these two portals marks the return of Wirtualna Polska to the leadership position among internet portals in Poland. Grzegorz Tomasiak, CEO of Wirtualna Polska has no doubt this is the appropriate place for the icon of Polish internet:

Consolidation with o2 opens up new horizons for Wirtualna Polska – the very first Polish portal. We are combining our competences and potential, products and advertising abilities – all of which guarantees the dynamic development of the Group. Wirtualna Polska is a leader in the mobile sector and electronic communications. We occupy first place in the categories important to every publisher, such as “news coverage" and “opinions" – asserts Tomasiak.

The current owner of Wirtualna Polska is also pleased to hear of its dynamic development plans:

Our goal was to choose a partner who will not only offer the transaction terms, but also guarantee further development of Wirtualna Polska. We chose Innova Capital private equity fund, which finances the acquisition of WP and combining it with O2 Group. This will form a company which will be the leader in the segment of horizontal portals in Poland. That’s why I am confident about the future of Wirtualna Polska.– said Bruno Duthoit, President of the Board and CEO of Orange Polska.

The acquisition of Wirtualna Polska is conditional on obtaining the consent of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. The motion for the consent will be filed in the near future.


Wirtualna Polska:
First Polish internet portal. Information platform, communication and advertising medium. WP.PL is visited monthly by over 13 million users. Leader in e-mail, mobile sector, and thecategories of information and journalism. Ranks second among portals in the categories of entertainment, lifestyle and sport, and third in the areas of business and travel.

Grupa o2:
One of the fastest growing internet groups in Poland. It owns, among others, the o2 portal – the most popular information and entertainment service in Poland. Grupa o2 comprises of several dozen thematic services, of which the most popular are “Pudelek", “Wrzuta" and “Kafeteria" – which are visited monthly by over 9 million users. Grupa o2 also includes “Tlen" instant messaging service, and the fastest growing e-mail service in Poland.

Innova Capital:
One of the leading private equity funds in Central and Eastern Europe investing in mid-sized companies. Since its foundation in 1994 Innova Capital has invested almost EUR 500m in forty companies operating in 10 countries in the region. In 2010, the Unquote magazine honoured Innova Capital with the CEE Fund of the Year Award for the subscription of its fifth fund Innova/5.