WARSAW Media groups Time Warner and Vivendi will likely place the only two binding bids for a controlling stake in Polish broadcaster TVN worth more than $800 million, three sources told Reuters on Monday.
TVN's parent company, ITI Group, in July launched the sale of its 56-percent holding in TVN, which has a market capitalization of $1.6 billion. The media group operates a pay-TV business, free-to-air channels, and Poland's biggest web portal.
The stake would give either Time Warner or Vivendi a large foothold in one of the most vibrant media markets in Europe.
Local media have said Bertelsmann-owned RTL Group was also in the running, but Reuters sources said on Monday the group dropped out of the race.
"TVN is preparing for due diligence," one of the sources said. "Time Warner is getting close to the deal, with the second bidder most probably being Vivendi. Bertelsmann is not placing a bid."
ITI and Time Warner were not immediately available, while Vivendi had no comment.
Last week, sources close to the situation also said Vivendi could team up with a local Polish partner to squeeze synergies out of its possible TVN buy, with local media naming France Telecom-controlled Poland's top telecom TPSA as a likely partner.
($1 = 3.235 Polish Zlotys)
(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Adrian Krajewski in Warsaw, Leila Abboud in Paris and Yinka Adegoke in New York)