European Directories has taken another step in expanding its directory publishing footprint on the continent.
Earlier this week, ED acquired the Polish directory publisher Ditel from Telekomunikacja Polska. The deal is worth 20 million euros, or about US$29 million.
ED is already present in the Polish directory market through its 50-50 joint venture with Interinfo Holdings to operate PKT, or Polska Ksiazki Telefoniczne (there is a good reason for using acronyms when discussing the Polish directory business). The Kelsey Group estimates Ditel and PKT have a combined 48 percent share of the market, which Eniro Polska leads with a 51 percent share. TKG values the Polish market at US$132 million in 2006, based on today’s zloty-dollar exchange rate.
This agreement comes close on the heels of ED’s announced acquisition of Gouden Gids from Truvo, a deal that awaits regulatory approval in the Netherlands. If approved, that combination with consolidate the Dutch directory business into a single dominant player.
ED is a London-based holding company with directory operations in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Gibraltar, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden. The company is led by CEO Cornel Riklin and is owned by an investor group led by Macquarie Capital Alliance Group.
This deal, following the Netherlands consolidation, suggests ED wants to consolidate its positions in Europe where it can. Assuming the Gouden Gids deal is completed, the most competitive marketing remaining in ED’s portfolio is Finland, where its Fonecta operation competes hand to hand with Eniro’s Finnish unit.
TKG believes we may see more M&A activity in Europe. One big question invariably raised by the Gouden Gids deal is whether this clears a path for a mega-merger between ED and Truvo. With the consolidation of the Netherlands, those two companies would have entirely complementary portfolios.