French consortium signals eir takeover

Richard Moat, eir
Richard Moat, eir

Telecoms magnate Xavier Niel leads €3.5bn bid

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20 December 2017 | 0

French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel is leading a €3.5 billion bid for a majority stake in eir. The consortium is led by NJJ Telecom Europe, part of Niel’s investment firm NJJ Group, and Iliad SA, where he holds a controlling share.

The deal is expected to be be completed in the first half of 2018 after which eir chief executive oficer Richard Moat will step down.

Eir is currently owned by an investor group including Anchorage Capital Group, Davidson Kempner Capital Management, GIC and management.

Anchorage Capital Group and Davidson Kempner will retain a combined 35.5% share in the company, respectively 26.6% and 8.9%.

“Eir is an essential part of the Irish economy and we have closely followed its transformation over the last five years through the excellent work of its team,” said Niel.

“We are a long-term investor in the telecoms sector and bring global knowhow to eir. In our businesses in France, Monaco and Switzerland we have consistently delivered investment in infrastructure, while driving down prices for consumers… We want to invest for the future of Ireland and hope to work closely with the Irish government and ComReg to ensure that people across the country have access to world-class super-fast fixed and mobile broadband.”

Carl Leaver, chairman, Eircom Holdings, said: “Today marks an important milestone for eir, our customers and indeed for Ireland itself. Iliad and NJJ Telecom Europe bring a wealth of global telecommunications experience which will be of huge benefit to eir and its customers.

“Coupled with the continued involvement of our existing shareholders, Anchorage Capital and Davidson Kempner, the company is well positioned to continue its operational transformation, underpinned by sustained investment, innovative products and services and improved financial performance”.

Eir repoted revenue of €1.3 billion in the financial year to 30 June 2017.

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