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Sweden's Eniro Acquires Panorama Polska

[London, ENGLAND] Northern Europe's largest directory company Eniro announced Monday its acquisition of Panorama Polska, a company that has 50 percent of Poland's directory market.

Eniro said it will pay SEK 860 million (US $27.8 million) in newly issued shares to Panorama Polska's owner Telia, together with cash of approximately SEK 310 million (US $31.8 million). When concluded, the deal will leave Telia without a controlling interest in Eniro despite the huge new issue.

Lars Guldstrand, president and chief executive of Eniro, referred to Poland as "one of the most dynamic and promising markets in Europe."

"We know both the Polish market and the company quite well, since our time with Telia, and think this is an excellent opportunity for Eniro, both from a geographic fit and growth perpective, said Guldstrand.

Founded in 1992, Panorama Polska operates one of the largest Internet portals in Poland and gets almost 6 million unique users a year. Like its new parent, it is even more active in offline directory publishing, from which it derives most of its revenues of SEK 410 million (US$ 42.3 million).

Panorama maintains a database of 0.7 million businesses, 50,000 of which were advertisers in its directories in 2000. With 690 employees, 50 directory titles, and a total circulation of more than 4.1 million copies, the Polish company looks like a good buy.

Despite Panorama's success, the Polish directory market is still underdeveloped in comparison to those in Western Europe. It rates 0.05 percent of GDP and US $2 per capita of the advertising market versus 12 percent and US $32 respectively in the Swedish directory market.

Eniro recently acquired two directory firms in Germany and will have a presence in 23 countries after completing the deal in Poland. Statistics for Eniro will be: 3,200 employees, 800 directory titles and circulation of 35 million copies.

The deal between Eniro and Telia gives Eniro 100 percent of Panorama Polska, Telia having acquired all the Panorama shares previously owned by GTE Information Services (UK) Limited.