InfraVia Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Paris, through its vehicle InfraVia European Fund V, signed an agreement to acquire 50% of the shares in FiberForce sp z oo, a subsidiary of Play, which is a wireless carrier and fixed broadband provider in Poland, as well as part of Iliad Group. Specifically, InfraVia is purchasing its 50% stake in FiberForce’s network in Poland for a price of $400m USD (PLN 1.775bn).
FiberForce comprises the access network assets of UPC Poland, which Play gained following Iliad Group’s acquisition of UPC Poland from Liberty Global, which closed in April 2022.
Finally, InfraVia Capital’s 50% acquisition of FiberForce is expected to close in Q1 2023.
FiberForce – InfraVia and Iliad’s Play in Poland
FiberForce passes over 3.7 million households in Poland with its hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network infrastructure. Additionally, with the backing of InfraVia Capital, FiberForce plans to expand its fiber network, building over 2 million additional fiber-optic connections to households in Poland.
As such, FiberForce seeks to provide high-speed internet access to 6 million households in Poland, through a combination of its existing infrastructure and significant further investments.
Open Access Wholesale Network
FiberForce will operate and build an open access wholesale network. Therefore, FiberForce’s network will be open to all internet service providers (ISPs) and carriers, including Play and UPC, to offer broadband services to their end users.
FiberForce in Poland represents another fiber partnership between InfraVia Capital and an Iliad Group-controlled entity, following the duo’s fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) joint venture in France, known as IFT (see below), which was formed in February 2020. Additionally, Xavier Niel, Iliad’s founder and owner, invested personally in the InfraVia Growth Fund, at the vehicle’s first closing of €270m in May 2020.
In April 2021, Orange SA’s Polish unit, Orange Polska, agreed to form a €605m, 50%/50% fiber joint venture with APG, the manager for Dutch pension fund ABP. This joint venture intends to reach a total of 2.4 million households in Poland with fiber by 2025.
InfraVia Capital Partners – Overview
InfraVia Capital Partners is a private equity firm which focuses on infrastructure and technology investments. Since 2008, InfraVia has raised €10bn of capital and invested in 40+ companies across 13 European countries.
InfraVia Capital Partners has invested across all of the major sub-sectors of digital infrastructure, including towers, data centers, and fiber. Presently, InfraVia’s digital infrastructure portfolio includes:
- Celeste: owns and operates the third largest national fixed network in France, providing services to enterprises and the public sector. Specifically, Celeste’s wholesale fiber network spans 5.3k route miles (8.5k route kilometers), with 234 points-of-presence (POPs), in 2.65k municipalities
- Fibre Networks Ireland: joint venture with eir (Eircom) to build wholesale fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks across the Republic of Ireland, which targets passing 1.9 million premises by the end of 2026
- green.ch (Green Data Centre): acquired Altice’s telecommunications solutions business and data center operations in Switzerland for €184m (CHF 214m). Presently, Green operates ~25 megawatts of power capacity and has secured land to develop 80 megawatts of additional capacity
- IFT (Investissement dans la Fibre des Territoires): fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) joint venture, between InfraVia and Iliad, for medium- and low-density areas of France. To-date, IFT has invested €760m+ and reached ~70% coverage of the territory
- Liberty Networks Germany: joint venture with Liberty Global to build fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in underserved municipalities of Germany