Grupa Wirtualna Polska – New leader of the Polish Internet
Warszawa, 14 February 2014 – Grupa o2 together with private equity fund Innova Capital have completed acquisition of Wirtualna Polska. The combined companies will operate on the market under the name “Grupa Wirtualna Polska”. The Management Board of the new company is led by Jacek Świderski, while Łukasz Wejchert will support its development holding a seat on the Supervisory Board.
The purchase of 100 per cent of the Wirtualna Polska shares from subsidiary of Orange Polska SA (formerly TP SA)by Grupa o2 completes the formal process of forming the new Grupa Wirtualna Polska (GWP). Its first stage was the acquisition of the majority share in Grupa o2 by European Media Holding, controlled by the Innova Capital. Both transactions have been approved by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
We are becoming the partner of first choice for Internet users and advertisers. We offer a diversity of content-from news through sports, to entertainment and lifestyle, as well as mass services such as Poczta WP and Poczta o2, which have their loyal customer base, says Jacek Świderski, the CEO of Grupa Wirtualna Polska.
With well-recognized brands of the WP and o2 portals and the dobreprogramy.pl vortal, Grupa Wirtualna Polska is becoming the Internet leader in Poland. Based on the most recent, November results of the Megapanel PBI/ Gemius study, it may be estimated that GWP has a record number of users -17.4 million, which translates toover 82 per cent coverage.
o2 and WP form a complementary, stable platform and a solid basis to build, by a group of leading Internet entrepreneurs and professionals, a strong Polish champion, says Krzysztof Krawczyk, Managing Partner at Innova Capital.
The Management Board of Grupa Wirtualna Polska will consist of Jacek Świderski, who will take the position of the Chief Executive Officer, Michał Brański, Krzysztof Sierota and Elżbieta Bujniewicz. The Supervisory Board will be comprised of well-known experts and business representatives operating in the Internet media industry.
Thanks to the experience of people and brands involved in the Wirtualna Polska Group we have exciting opportunities in front of us. We want to innovate and bring online technologies to even wider audience. That’s my top priority. I believe that the easiest way to continue as the leading player on the market is coming up with new projects. Hence my involvement in the Wirtualna Polska Group, says Łukasz Wejchert.
The group of investors of Grupa Wirtualna Polska will be joined by MCI Management, who through its subfund MCI Euro Ventures 1.0, concluded an agreement with European Media Holding which allowed MCI to acquire a minority share in EMH, securing the equivalent of 20 per cent of shares in Grupa o2.
The brands WP.PL and o2.pl, as well as other brands in the portfolio of Grupa Wirtualna Polska, will remain separate brands. The legal merger of the companies will be completed by the end of this year. At the same time, work will continue on new innovative services, on the development of services on the basis of the Group’s own exclusive content and on a new joint offering.
The first Polish Internet portal, comprehensive multi-media communication and information platform, effective advertising medium. More than 13 million users visit WP.PL every month. The leader in the electronic mail segment. It holds the leading position among web portals in the categories such as mobile, video, information and opinion journalism, sports, business, entertainment and lifestyle.
One of the most dynamically growing Internet groups in our country. It owns, among others, the o2 portal–the most popular news and entertainment service in Poland. Grupa o2 is comprised of a few dozen thematic services of which the most popular ones are “Pudelek”, “Wrzuta” or “Kafeteria” –they are visited by more than 9 million Internet users every month.
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.